image

Hong Kong localism and independence

Hong Kong independence would bring ‘calamity’, warns mainland China’s NPC chief Zhang Dejiang

State leader says Basic Law interpretation ‘shows central government’s determination in safeguarding ‘one country, two systems’’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 6:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 6:43pm

Advocating Hong Kong’s independence from mainland China would “bring calamity to the country and the people”, and Hongkongers must “struggle” against it, China’s top man overseeing Hong Kong affairs said on Tuesday.

National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang also said Beijing would like to communicate with any person or organisation in Hong Kong, as long as they support the “one country, two systems” principle, uphold the Basic Law, and “love the country”.

Zhang was speaking as he met a delegation from the Silent Majority for Hong Kong, a pro-Beijing group led by former radio host Robert Chow Yung, an outspoken critic of the Occupy protests in 2014.

Last month pro-independence legislators Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching triggered a political storm by pledging allegiance to a “Hong Kong nation” and insulting China during their swearings-in at the Legislative Council. Their oaths were rejected during the ceremony.

The rise and fall of Hong Kong’s pro-independence lawmakers

That prompted the NPC’s Standing Committee, under Zhang’s leadership, to interpret the Basic Law, ruling that lawmakers who refused to take their oath “sincerely” would face disqualification. Hong Kong’s High Court ruled a week later that the duo had to vacate their seats.

Zhang said: “The interpretation fully shows the central government’s determination in safeguarding ‘one country, two systems’.”

“Hong Kong independence would bring calamity to the nation and its people. Don’t say it doesn’t matter because there is only a small majority talking about independence, we must not look down on it,” he said.

Chris Patten warns pro-independence antics ‘dilute support’ for democracy

“If it worsens, Hong Kong people are the first to suffer losses and misfortune, therefore I believe that the vast majority of Hong Kong residents would clearly see the true colour of Hong Kong independence and insist on the struggle against it.”