Hong Kong’s “unique role” in China depends on the Basic Law, Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said, after student leaders burned a copy of the city’s mini-constitution at the annual June 4 vigil last night. Tsang, founding chairman of the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, was speaking on DBC radio this morning, when he was asked for his views on the four student union representatives who burned a copy of the Basic Law. The student leaders, from the Chinese, Shue Yan, Polytechnic and City universities, said they wanted to amend Article 45, which states chief executive candidates will be named by a nominating committee when universal suffrage is introduced. I hope the students know what they are doing Jasper Tsang But Tsang said: “I hope the students know what they are doing. At least they should know that the Basic Law talks about [Beijing’s] promises about the basic principles and policies of ‘one country, two systems’: how socialism would not be introduced in Hong Kong, and how the ‘high degree of autonomy’ would remain unchanged for 50 years.” “When students burned [a copy of] the Basic Law, are they opposing ‘one country, two systems’?” Tsang asked. Referring to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s criticism of a group of University of Hong Kong students for advocating the city’s independence in their magazine Undergrad , Tsang said pan-democrats and students had denied being independence advocates. Tsang questioned if by recognising China’s sovereignty over the city but opposing “one country, two systems”, “are [the students] suggesting Hong Kong should look like other Chinese cities?” “If that’s not what they are saying, what does it mean to burn [a copy of] the Basic Law? It is what Hong Kong relies on in maintaining its unique status … I hope they thought about it carefully,” Tsang added. Before Tsang began his political career in the early 1990s, he was a teacher and later the principal of the Pui Kiu Middle School. But talking about schools today, Tsang echoed the pro-establishment camp and Beijing officials’ stance that a “systematic explanation of the contents of the Basic Law” was missing in the city’s curriculum. “There are only nine chapters and about 160 articles in the Basic Law, and only several articles are debated often, so we should explain them clearly to students … yet since the handover, a lot of resources were spent on promoting the Basic Law by organising quiz contests, calligraphy competitions and carnivals,” Tsang lamented. He said rational discussion on “one country, two systems” was impossible if those involved had not looked at the Basic Law’s articles seriously.