How Hong Kong balances ‘one country, two systems’ in relations with Britain

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 April, 2018, 4:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 April, 2018, 4:05pm

I refer to China’s reaction to the British foreign secretary’s latest half-yearly report to the UK parliament (“China tells UK to back off after Boris Johnson warns of Beijing’s increasing influence over Hong Kong”, March 16).

After Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressed concern that the “one country, two systems” principle was under threat, and urged respect for “the established constitutional framework for any change to the Basic Law”, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said: “Britain has no power to intervene, there is no room for interference.”

The attitude from the Chinese government is so tough because it always gives priority to political stability, but the Hong Kong government has a different attitude to solving the problems of politics and economics.

On March 24, Liam Fox, the British secretary of state for international trade, and Edward Yau Tang-wah, Hong Kong’s commerce and economic development secretary, recognised that London and Hong Kong should reinforce their long-standing and strong economic and trade relations.

The two sides have identified some initial measures to achieve such a goal, and will continue to explore other initiatives over the next three years, particularly in the field of innovation and technology and other emerging industries.

Under the “one country, two systems” formula, Hong Kong easily promotes “cold politics, hot economics” in relationships with other administrations, especially its former colonisers, the British.

But “cold politics, hot economics” is not the priority choice for Hong Kong. Political and economic market freedoms, and human rights, have always been the core values for the city.

Wendy Liu, Mong Kok