Two-pronged policy to spear UK
ON April 1, Communist Party General Secretary Mr Jiang Zemin conveyed the latest instructions from Mr Deng Xiaoping concerning Hongkong.
Mr Deng's instructions reflect China's strategy on Hongkong affairs - to place political interests above economic interests. Political interests refer to the implementation of ''one party rule'' in Hongkong after 1997.
The tactics of the Chinese Communist Party are to completely interfere in the internal affairs of Hongkong during the later part of the transitional period.
Governor Mr Chris Patten's reform package, to a certain extent, has been used as a ''righteous'' excuse by the Chinese Government to fight against Britain. This thinking and attitude can be seen in the latest talk by Mr Deng concerning Hongkong issues.
Mr Deng said that ''in order to guarantee the personal interests of Hongkong compatriots, to maintain the position of Hongkong as an international finance, industrial, and transportation centre, to minimise volatility and maintain stability during the transitional period, we can lose out on some things and make concessions in our dealings with the British Government. We can tolerate Britain taking advantage of Hongkong and reaping benefits, but this is not without limits. China will never give way or compromise on sovereignty and the internal administration of Hongkong, which are matters of principles.'' Mr Deng's words show China has adopted a two-prong policy and strategy towards the British Government, that is, to make concessions on the economic front while never giving way on the political front. This means China will not allow Hongkong to be democratised. On the surface, it appears the strategy is to separate economic issues from political ones but the fact is political interests are considered more important than economic interests. Political interests refer to the concept of ''one party rule'' after 1997.
Mr Deng has warned that should the British seriously violate the Joint Declaration, it will not be a matter for both governments, but one for the Chinese Government alone, and Britain should be clearly aware of this Chinese position. THIS message was conveyed by Mr Jiang on April 1 - which may be All Fools' Day but the message contained no jokes, and Mr Deng's stern words make one pessimistic about Hongkong's future.
There was a working meeting on April 1 in Beijing, when Mr Jiang talked about the present Sino-British conflict as well as the direction of the Chinese Government. He emphasised the conflict neither happened by chance nor was it caused by their difference of opinion on certain matters.
The deadlock, Mr Jiang said, was due to the violation of the spirit of the Joint Declaration by Britain. He also accused the British of interfering with the development of Hongkong's political system. He said they had breached their promise to converge with the Basic Law, and infringed the understandings and agreements reached between the two sides. The British Government, he said, had initiated the political challenge towards China.
China has responded to the row by adopting a ''conspiracy theory''. Mr Jiang pointed out Britain's strategy was to plant anti-China and pro-British elements in the Hongkong administration so they could represent British interests after June 30, 1997.
He said they were also trying to internationalise Hongkong as a political city of the West.
Mr Jiang has even warned that if the British fail in their attempts and conspiracy, they will deliberately damage Hongkong both economically and internationally, and leave a broken ''basket'' behind for the Hongkong Special Administration Region after 1997. He said this was a usual practice of the British when withdrawing from their colonies.
Mr Jiang said for the sake of Hongkong's smooth transition and the interests of its people, the Chinese Government had shown its sincerity and co-operative attitude by making concessions on political and economic matters to foster more understanding and co-operation between the two sides.
Unfortunately, he said, the change in British policy towards China had badly affected the previously co-operative relationship. There was now a serious but unavoidable political war. It was also a great fight to protect the country's sovereignty, to ensure the unity of China's territory, and to protect national dignity, as well as to end colonial administration in Hongkong.
Mr Jiang was rather pessimistic about the future of Hongkong. He said China was well prepared for the side effects caused by the unco-operative attitude of the British in adopting a different policy on Hongkong. Even though losses and instability were unavoidable, Beijing had a comprehensive plan to deal with any emergency. However, Mr Jiang reiterated that Beijing's policy was to implement capitalism in Hongkong, to leave the management of Hongkong affairs to Hongkong people, and to ensure the territory's way of life remained unchanged for the next 50 or even 100 years. BEIJING, he said, had the responsibility, the ability as well as the determination to guarantee the maintenance and development of the position of Hongkong as an international finance, industrial and transportation centre without Britain's influence.
Mr Lu Ping, director of the State Council's Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office, when meeting with leading Hongkong people the same day, said the British would gain no benefits from trying to obtain overseas support to interfere in Hongkong internal affairs.
Mr Jiang also openly stated there was little chance of the Chinese and British returning to the friendly, co-operative and understanding relationship that existed before.
After 1997, China will get rid of opposition by accusing anyone with differing opinions of being ''an agent representing colonialism''. I believe this is what Hongkong citizens have to be more careful about.
This article appears in the April issue of Trend magazine. Translation by Juliana Lor.