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Thursday, July 21, 2016, 00:47

Zhang: HK needs a political bottom line

By Luis Liu
Zhang: HK needs a political bottom line
Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR, said if the upcoming Legislative Council (LegCo) elections become a stage for advocates of "Hong Kong independence", the fundamentals of the SAR and its future development will be jeopardized. (Edmond Tang / China Daily )

HONG KONG — People in Hong Kong need to have a bottom line, legally and politically, when it comes to safeguarding the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the Basic Law, Beijing's top official in the SAR said.

Commenting before the upcoming Legislative Council (LegCo) elections, Zhang Xiaoming said if these become a stage for advocates of "Hong Kong independence", the fundamentals of the SAR and its future development will be jeopardized.

Zhang, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR, voiced his concerns on Wednesday during the inauguration ceremony for a preparatory committee for National Day celebrations.

The nomination period for the LegCo elections started on Saturday and will continue until July 29. The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) had received a total of 76 nomination forms by Wednesday.

Zhang’s remarks came a day after the Chairman of the EAC, Justice Barnabas Fung Wah, said the commission was concerned about comments and proposals which surfaced during the nomination process. These deviated from the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and the constitutional status of Hong Kong as prescribed in the Basic Law.

Fung also reiterated the validity for the EAC to require all LegCo candidates to sign a declaration in the nomination form, which states that they will uphold the Basic Law, pledge allegiance to the HKSAR and understand specific provisions in the Basic Law, including the city’s status as an inalienable part of China.

Fung made the statement after he met politicians from the opposition camp, who have defied the EAC’s requirement. So far, none of the candidates from the opposition camp, including those intending to run on “localist” or even “Hong Kong independence” platforms, have signed the required declaration when submitting nomination forms.

Zhang reflected on the implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong since 1997. He stressed the successes of this unique constitutional arrangement, and admitted some problems had emerged in recent years. However, Zhang said he hoped people continue to have faith in the principle – as these problems were temporary.

He also reaffirmed that the central government will not change the principle. This is because it is the best arrangement for the city to maintain its stability and prosperity, Zhang said.

Thus he hoped Hong Kong people will uphold a legal and a political bottom line, to safeguard the principle, and reject any promotion of "Hong Kong independence".

“If ‘Hong Kong independence’ advocates are allowed to proactively promote their notion during the LegCo election, or even enter the city's legislature, does this comply with the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, the Basic Law and the rule of law?” Zhang asked.

“Which direction would it lead Hong Kong society to? Is this a blessing or a curse for the city?" Zhang asked. This is not just a legal matter, but also a matter of right and wrong, bottom line and principle, and a matter that will define the city’s direction of development, he said.

Zhang reiterated that the central government will not change its policy on Hong Kong and Macao affairs. This is to safeguard the SARs' long-term prosperity and stability, as well as the country's sovereignty, security and development.

He urged all Hong Kong people to consider a fundamental question: What kind of Hong Kong do we want to live in?

"Everyone who is genuinely concerned about Hong Kong’s well-being should think deeply and be vigilant about it,” Zhang said.

luisliu@chinadailyhk.com

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