Anxiety high over Beijing’s stance on Hong Kong, but ‘two systems’ should be respected: US consul general
Kurt Tong also calls for Hong Kong to tackle its own issues
US Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Kurt Tong said yesterday that he sensed a “palpable and persistent note of anxiety” in discussions with some locals.
Tong also attributed the anxious sentiment to factors such as income disparity, polarisation of the Legislative Council and a growing awareness of its limitations, and implementation of the “one country, two systems” policy.
He was referring to the disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers involved in publications critical of the Communist Party in 2015, sparking concerns they were kidnapped by mainland agents.
“All these incidents have tended to feed Hongkongers’ endless, unhealthy speculation about what Beijing wants, or does not want,” Tong said.
He noted that his government agreed the recent interpretation, as suggested by the city’s legal leaders, was “unnecessary”, and gave the perception that Hong Kong could not handle the oath-taking dispute on its own when in fact it could have.
“But I remain hopeful that the central government really does understand that the ‘two systems’ part of ‘one country, two systems’ is critical to Hong Kong’s success – as well as to Hong Kong’s value to the rest of China,” Tong said.
Tong also said Hong Kong would be better off if China respected its high degree of autonomy, while the city played within the constructs of the Basic Law.
He voiced hope that in future, Hongkongers would tackle their own issues and spend less time worrying about Beijing’s thinking.