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Sunday, March 5, 2017, 15:50

Li: 'Hong Kong independence' leads nowhere

By Luis Liu
Li: 'Hong Kong independence' leads nowhere
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a government work report during the opening meeting of the fifth session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2017. (Pang Xinglei / Xinhua)

Premier Li Keqiang warned on Sunday that the notion of “Hong Kong independence” will lead nowhere.

He gave the warning in his annual Government Work Report at the opening of the fifth session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People.

It was the first time that the issue has been mentioned in such a report.

The report also pledged to ensure that the “One Country, Two Systems” policy is steadfastly applied in the SAR “without being bent or distorted”.

We will continue to implement, both to the letter and in spirit, the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’...

Premier Li Keqiang

Li vowed that the central government will continue to support the Hong Kong and Macao SAR governments in their governance in accordance with the law, and it will act in strict compliance with the country’s constitution and the Basic Laws of the two SARs.

“We will continue to implement, both to the letter and in spirit, the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, under which the people of Hong Kong govern Hong Kong, the people of Macao govern Macao, and both regions enjoy a high degree of autonomy,” he said.

“We have always had full confidence in ensuring lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao,” Li said.

The premier added that efforts will be made to promote cooperation among the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.

The central government will also support the two SAR governments in growing their economies, improving people’s wellbeing, advancing the progress of democracy and promoting social harmony.

The report was well received by Hong Kong’s NPC deputies.

Deputy convener of the Hong Kong NPC delegation and Hong Kong lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok agreed with Li’s remarks, saying that the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, an unprecedented constitutional arrangement, has proved a success.

He said the integration is still going on two decades after reunification. Problems that have emerged are temporary and can be solved within the current system. “Separatism is never an option in Hong Kong,” Ma said.

NPC member and Executive Councilor Cheng Yiu-tong said the premier’s call showed that Beijing is highly concerned about the “independence” notion emerging in the SAR.

He warned that separatism will not only harm the nation’s interests but also jeopardize Hong Kong people’swell being.

NPC deputy Michael Tien Puk-sun condemned “Hong Kong independence” as a nonissue. “It’s an absurd notion,” he said.

He denounced some activists in Hong Kong for playing up the matter for political gain.

Also in Beijing, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying stressed that Hong Kong people should stay alert against those who continue to advocate“Hong Kong independence”.

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