Executive Director of Center for Hong Kong and Macau Studies of Peking University Qiang Shigong interprets the white paper on the practice of "one nation, two systems" policy in Hong Kong: Authorization by central government is the only source of Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy
The Information Office of the State Council, or China's Cabinet, issued a white paper on the practice of the "one country, two systems" policy in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on June 10, which marks the first time Chinese central government issues a white paper on Hong Kong. Executive Director of Center for Hong Kong and Macau Studies of Peking University Qiang Shigong explains that the white paper claims that authorization by central government is the only source of Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and will help reconcile political reform disputes in Hong Kong.
file photo: part of the white paper on the practice of the "one country, two systems" policy
Key point: grasp the meaning of "one country, two systems" comprehensively and accurately
Qiang points out that the key point of the white paper is that we should grasp the meaning of "one country, two systems" comprehensively and accurately.
From a legal perspective, the core of "one country, two systems" lies in dealing with the relationship between "one country" and "two systems". "One country" is the premise. China is a unitary state, therefore, the high degree autonomy is not inherent, but derives from the authorization by Chinese central government. The limit of high degree of autonomy is determined by how much rights the central government authorizes, the so-called "residual power" doesn’t ever exist at tall. "Two systems" should maintain state sovereignty, security and development benefit, as well as respecting the fundamental state system and other principles.
Qiang said that "one country, two systems" is a brand new course, and wherein we must encounter a lot of questions to be solved in the practice. Only under the premise of "one country" can HK’s capitalist system exert its advantages and the two systems achieve mutual respect and harmonious development.
photo source: crntt.com
Highlight: Patriotism is the basic political requirement for HK governors
Qiang highlights that the white paper reads that there are lines and criteria to be observed in implementing "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong," that is what Deng Xiaoping stressed, Hong Kong must be governed by the Hong Kong people with patriots as the mainstay, as loyalty to one's country is the minimum political ethic for political figures.
The paper wrote:" Loving the country is the basic political requirement for Hong Kong's administrators. If they are not mainly consisted of patriots or they cannot be loyal to the country and the HKSAR, the practice of "one country, two systems" in the HKSAR will deviate from its right direction, making it difficult to uphold the country's sovereignty, security and development interests, and putting Hong Kong's stability and prosperity and the wellbeing of its people in serious jeopardy."
Accordingly, the white paper also points out that the fact that Hong Kong must be governed by patriots is well grounded in the Basic Law of Hong Kong. "It embodies the need of national sovereignty. "To ensure Hong Kong administrators’ patriotism and make them accept the oversight of Chinese central government and Hong Kong society is responsible for the country, HKSAR and HK citizens，" said Qiang.
Legal: The Constitution is the basis of Hong Kong Basic Law
As the practice of "one country, two systems" continues and the Basic Law is further implemented, it is imperative to further improve the systems and mechanisms in relation to the implementation of the Basic Law. In particular, it is necessary to, with an eye to the lasting peace and order in Hong Kong, exercise well the power of the central government as prescribed in the Basic Law and see to it that the relationship between the central government and HKSAR is indeed brought onto a legal and institutionalized orbit.
However, many Hong Kong citizens have failed to understand for a long time that the Basic Law is the constitutional and highest law of Hong Kong. Some even resort to the Sino-British Joint Declaration as its foundation and claim that Basic Law is the legalization of the declaration.
Aimed at the "popular" misunderstanding, the white paper declares that the Basic Law is formulated in accordance with the Constitution. As the fundamental law of the country, the Constitution, with supreme legal status and the highest legal authority, is applicable throughout the territory of the People's Republic of China, including the HKSAR. Therefore, the white paper not only traces Article 31 of the Constitution before the endorsement of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, but also lists 12 Hong Kong policies Chinese central government has issued. Given this understanding, the white paper claims that the Constitution of the PRC and the Basic Law together constitute the constitutional basis of the HKSAR
"It follows that the constitutional status of HKSAR is established by the Constitution," said Qiang Ligong, "the Basic Law should be framed within the Constitution, it is subordinate to the Constitution. Only by straightening out the relationship between the Basic Law and the Constitution can the relationship between HKSAR and the country be untangled.
Contributed by Luo Xu
Translated by Liu Shimeng
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