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Internationalizing of HK Affairs Violates Basic Law

The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong recently criticized certain foreign governments for making irresponsible comments over the constitutional reform issue in the SAR. Its stance has received the recognition and support of many people with breadth of vision.

But a certain SAR legislator has expressed different opinions.

He elaborated the so-called "international city" theory, fabricating all the "reasons" justifying foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Regarding this topic, I would like to make a few points:

First, this law-maker said that the United Kingdom is a signatory in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and therefore has the obligation and duty to concern itself with the declaration's implementation and express its views on Hong Kong affairs.

It must be pointed out that the central government has repeatedly stated its stance on this subject: before the reunification, the Hong Kong issue was a matter between China and the UK; but after that, it is entirely China's own affair. As a legislative councillor, how can he not know about this?

Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the central government and the SAR government have acted in strict accordance with the Basic Law. The principle of "One Country, Two Systems" has been successfully put into practice. The world community and Hong Kong people have been able to witness all these developments. The legislator's attempt to use the joint declaration to muddy the water will not succeed.

Second, he argued that since Hong Kong is implementing "One Country, Two Systems" and foreign countries have supported the joint declaration, these countries should have the right to intervene in Hong Kong affairs.

This rationale simply does not hold ground. Hong Kong is an SAR of China, and its implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" is empowered by the central government. This is an affair that is within China's jurisdiction.

Undoubtedly, the majority of the countries in the world support the Chinese Government in conceiving and applying the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. But how has such support been changed in the mind of this legislator into the right to intervene?

Seeking international support is a normal diplomatic policy for any country, but that does not mean giving foreign countries the right to intervene in a country's domestic affairs.

China, for instance, supported the establishment of a euro zone, but it did not have a say in how it should be created and whether it would ultimately be established. The reason for this is not hard to understand at all.

Third, that law-maker said, "Since the joint declaration was registered at the United Nations at that time, it meant that the central government itself wanted to internationalize the Hong Kong issue."

In his mind, the Hong Kong issue has entered the chamber of the United Nations. However, the registration of the joint declaration at the UN has nothing to do with internationalizing the Hong Kong issue.

Article 102 of the UN Charter clearly states that the only function of treaty registration is to empower the countries concerned to invoke the content of those treaties with UN bodies.

According to statistics, tens of thousands of treaties concerning a vast variety of subjects have been so registered. Yet, I have never heard that this kind of registration could internationalize a certain issue. It seems that this legislator should brush up his knowledge in international law.

Fourth, while the legislator has reiterated the cliche of "the internationalization of the Hong Kong issue", he never made reference to his pledge of upholding the Basic Law. This omission cannot but lead us to suspect his qualifications as a law-maker.

The Basic Law provides that constitutional reform, among other affairs, is China's internal affair. No foreign intervention is allowed, not to say internationalizing the Hong Kong issue.

(China Daily HK Edition December 31, 2003)

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
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