Li Fei, chairman of the Basic Law Committee, visited Hong Kong last month and is reported to have said: "No central government of any country would allow a person who is unpatriotic, who opposes the central government and whose goal is to overthrow it, to be the head of a local government." Meanwhile, the British press reported that the devolved Scottish government had proposed March 24, 2016 as Scotland's day of independence if a referendum in September next year results in a "yes" vote. Across the Atlantic, Quebec has had successive provincial governments favouring independence from Canada. Neither Edinburgh nor Quebec City wishes to "overthrow" the British or Canadian national governments, but their avowed "splittism" would be an equally heinous sin in Beijing's book. That secessionist local governments can coexist with a central one reflects such nations' constitutional maturity, but China's national circumstances are different. When the Zhou dynasty (circa 1050-256BC) was founded, a system of government was devised to ensure loyalty to the king. Lands were distributed among the founding king's relatives and his closest associates, to be held in perpetuity by their descendants. It was assumed that due to blood and personal ties these "states" would remain friendly to one another and loyal to the reigning king in the capital. Within a few generations, however, inter-state warfare had broken out and some barons even attacked the king.