Xi Jinping gets credit for solving Hong Kong’s ‘unprecedented challenges’
Communist Party committee lauds president’s application of ‘one country, two systems’ and says majority of Hongkongers are proud of Chinese identity
The Chinese Communist Party’s committee overseeing Hong Kong affairs has credited President Xi Jinping’s leadership for overcoming “unprecedented challenges” the city has faced over the past five years through the “accurate and unswerving” implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle.
In an article published over the weekend, the party committee under the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office noted that the vast majority of Hong Kong people were “deeply proud of their Chinese identity” and admired Xi for Beijing’s achievements.
The article on the implementation of “one country, two systems” since 2012 was published in the party’s flagship journal Qiushi, or Seeking Truth, days before Xi is expected to unveil his five-yearly report at the start of the party’s landmark 19th congress in Beijing on Wednesday.
Under the “one country, two systems” principle, Beijing guarantees Hong Kong “a high degree of autonomy” for at least half a century until 2047.
According to the report, since the last congress in 2012, the party has achieved success in four key areas: implementing “one country, two systems” and taking it in the right direction; governing Hong Kong and Macau in accordance with the law; supporting the two cities’ economic and social development; and “fostering the reunification of Hong Kong and Macau people’s hearts”.
“The party’s leadership under Xi … has persistently implemented the ‘one country, two systems’ principle comprehensively and accurately,” the committee said. “Xi also emphasised that the implementation … would be unswerving.”
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On governing Hong Kong according to the law, the committee said Beijing fully supported the city’s government in dealing with the 2014 Occupy protests, during which roads were blocked for 79 days by activists demanding greater democracy.
“Through judicial procedures, such as the relevant stakeholders’ application for court injunctions, the sites were cleared smoothly, and bloody incidents were avoided. It set an international example on the appropriate handling of similar incidents.”
Last year, newly elected pro-independence lawmakers Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching’s anti-China antics during their swearing-in ceremony prompted China’s top legislative body to issue an interpretation of the Basic Law that made improper oath-taking punishable by instant disqualification. The pair, and four other pro-democracy lawmakers, were stripped of their seats subsequently.
In a reference to the pair, the committee said the disqualification was “an effective deterrent on Hong Kong independence forces”.
“The successful conclusion of Xi’s visit to Hong Kong … reflected that the city’s situation has shown decisive improvements,” the article said.
On economic and social developments, the office said Beijing had included Hong Kong in the Belt and Road Initiative to open up a new silk route for international trade, as well as the Greater Bay Area regional integration plan.
“[Beijing] has also been launching a series of initiatives to offer convenience for Hong Kong and Macau compatriots to study, work and live on the mainland … These measures are good for the people’s well-being.”
On people’s sense of national identity, the office noted that Beijing had taken the unprecedented step of mobilising the People’s Liberation Army’s garrison in Macau, as provided for under the Basic Law, to help with the massive clean-up after Typhoon Hato left 10 dead and scores injuredin August.
“The vast majority of Hong Kong and Macau compatriots … are deeply proud of being Chinese and wholeheartedly admire the party’s central leadership with Xi at its core,”the committee said.
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Professor Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said the article reflected Beijing’s belief that assuming a more active role in Hong Kong affairs would help the implementation of “one country, two systems”.
“Xi is likely to mention at the party congress that Beijing will continue to take that approach,” Lau said.