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Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 01:06

‘HK independence’ has no future, say experts

By Li Yinze and Luis Liu

HONG KONG - Political leaders and legal experts stressed that independence will not work in Hong Kong and urged people to have confidence in the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

They were referring to a just-released survey by the Chinese University of Hong Kong which showed 70 percent of the respondents supported maintaining the principle after 2047.

The political leaders said the SAR government should enhance communication with the central government to consolidate Hong Kong's unique status in the country.

They shared their observations at a forum about advocacy of “Hong Kong independence” and the practice of “One Country, Two Systems” organized by the Hong Kong Association of Media Veterans on Monday.

Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing noted in the survey released by the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Sunday, 81 percent of the 1,010 respondents believed “Hong Kong independence” will not happen.

“The ‘pro-independence’ supporters may have varied understanding of the concept of going independent. Some of them may even have no idea of the consequences if the city breaks away from the country,” explained Tsang.

He believed pro-independence sentiments would not work, as some 70 percent of those surveyed supported keeping the current constitutional arrangements. This was not a surprising result, said Tsang.

The government, however, will face intensifying discussions about the implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” by local residents. These discussions reflect that some problems may have emerged during implementation of this arrangement after Hong Kong returned to the country in 1997, Tsang said.

Commenting on the findings that 17.4 percent of respondents said they support “Hong Kong independence” after 2047, Executive Council non-official member Cheung Chi-kong said the survey results did not necessarily reflect an increasing number of pro-independence supporters. He said many people may not realize that they might have to shoulder some responsibilities when answering these questionnaires.

Some radical candidates have applied for a judicial review to challenge the new requirement to make Legislative Council candidates sign a declaration to uphold the Basic Law. Cheung said it was their right to apply for such review. But they must also respect and comply with court decisions.

He believed the government had definitely received adequate legal advice before launching this new requirement.

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