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Saturday, November 12, 2016, 00:18

Tung: All should back ‘One Country, Two Systems’

By Luis Liu
Tung: All should back ‘One Country, Two Systems’
Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa speaks at the second anniversary ceremony of the think tank he chairs – Our Hong Kong Foundation - on Friday. (Parker Zheng / China Daily )

HONG KONG - All Hong Kong people should defend the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, as it protects Hong Kong’s many advantages and also ensures its opportunities for future development, the city’s former leader said on Friday.

Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa urged all sections of society to unite against separatism and activists who want to overthrow the unique constitutional arrangement.

Tung, who is now vice-chairman of the nation’s top political advisory body, appealed to the city at the second anniversary ceremony of the think tank he chairs – Our Hong Kong Foundation - on Friday.

He made the comments amid what he called a “challenging moment” for Hong Kong. This comes after an oath-taking scandal by two lawmakers-elect rocked the city triggering widespread indignation. The pair altered the oath’s text, added pro-independence terms such as “Hong Kong nation” and used offensive language to insult Chinese people a month ago.

Tung said the crisis not only threatens the country’s sovereignty and national security, but has shaken the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. The oath-taking saga has hurt the fundamental interests of Hong Kong and its people, Tung said.

The incident happened after several political conflicts including the illegal “Occupy Central” movement in 2014 and the electoral reform standoff last year.

If we concede at this defining moment, Hong Kong would fall into a deadly abyss

Tung Chee-hwa, former chief executive

“If we concede at this defining moment, Hong Kong would fall into a deadly abyss,” Tung warned.

Tung urged people to remember the original intention of adopting the Basic Law: “To facilitate the city’s reunification with the motherland and maintain Hong Kong’s strength and social system”.

“If we violate the ‘One Country’ aspect, the ‘Two Systems’ will perish in the city,” Tung warned.

He praised the public for standing firm against separatist forces. Hong Kong people had showed the unpopularity of “pro-independence” views. They have also voiced their unequivocal opposition to the words and deeds of separatist activists, Tung said.

The former chief executive advised SAR people to take a broader outlook and a historic view. This is needed to protect the overall interests of the country. People should not limit their vision solely to local issues, added Tung.

He stressed that the “One Country, Two Systems” constitutional arrangement is the best one for achieving a prosperous and stable future for Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Tung said he supported the nation’s top legislature’s latest interpretation to the city’s Basic Law over requirements for oath-takers when assuming public office.

He said interpretations by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress were part of the city’s legal system. Beijing has the constitutional responsibility to address sovereignty-related issues.

Tung hoped this could help Hong Kong stop the chaotic situation and get back on track.

During the past two years, Our Hong Kong Foundation has conducted various studies on the city’s most critical issues. These include housing supply woes, poverty alleviation difficulties and creating more opportunities for young people. The think tank released six reports last year alone.

Tung hoped the efforts could generate positive energy much needed in the city. This would help Hong Kong realign its development interests with those of the nation.

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