The "one country, two systems" principle should be correctly and comprehensively understood and should not be deliberately misrepresented, a signed article published by the Xinhua News Agency said Sunday.
The two aspects of the principle must be integrated, said the article's author Xia Yong, director of the Law Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"One country" maintains the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of China, while "two systems" means that some regions may practice capitalism under central government authorization, while the mainland practices socialism, the article said.
Without "one country," there would be no "two systems." If one only talks about "two systems" while neglecting "one country," the high degree of autonomy would be like having a river without a source, the article said.
The principle of "one country, two systems" was originally proposed to peacefully resolve the Taiwan question. However, it was implemented first in Hong Kong. Facts have proved that it guaranteed Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity.
The return of Hong Kong to the motherland is the premise and basis of the high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong and the running of Hong Kong by Hongkongers.
The perseverance of "one country" was the major premise during Sino-British negotiations on the Hong Kong issue. The implementation of the "two systems" takes into consideration Hong Kong's history and reality. It by no means indicates any concession on the question of national sovereignty, the article said.
Referring to the origin of power in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the article said, national sovereignty is the premise and basis of local power. Local autonomy, no matter in general or in high degree of autonomy or under what system, is merely a pattern of power distribution within a sovereign state.
The Basic Law stipulates that the Hong Kong SAR is a local administrative region under the central government. Its high degree of autonomy stems from central government authorization. Under this principle, the chief executive and major officials of the Hong Kong SAR should be appointed by the central government. Any revision of the method of electing the chief executive and legislative council must be approved by the central government, the article said.
On the composition of the State system, the articles said, the national system is the premise of the local system. The political, economic and legal systems of Hong Kong are part of the national system, rather than independent outwith the national system. The "two systems" principle means two special systems under the whole national system.
From the prospective of the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, the article said, the prosperity and stability of the country is the premise and basis of the prosperity of a locality.
After China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, the social, economic and legal systems and the way of life in Hong Kong remain largely unchanged. The Hong Kong SAR's status as a free port and an international trade and financial centre is unaltered. Its autonomy is far from being a state in a federation.
For instance, the Hong Kong SAR enjoys the power of final adjudication. Hong Kong residents do not pay tax to the central government. The Hong Kong SAR has its own monetary and tariff systems.
All this is under the premise of "one country." A growing number of Hong Kong residents come to see that when their country is strong and prosperous, Hong Kong will be even better, the article said.
"We should bear in mind that 'one country' is the premise and basis of the 'two systems'," the article concluded.
Some Chinese experts also commented on Deng Xiaoping's "one country, two systems" remarks, saying that they remain the guidelines for understanding and handling the Hong Kong issue in a correct way.
The development of the Hong Kong political situation has demonstrated Deng Xiaoping's foresight in many aspects, said Zhou Nan, the former director of Xinhua News Agency's Hong Kong Branch from 1990 to 1997.
Deng's remarks on the "one country, two systems" principle are of far-reaching significance in observing and handling matters related to Hong Kong, and the remarks are the fundamental guarantee of Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity, said Zhou, who participated in the Sino-British negotiations on the Hong Kong question and witnessed the entire process of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. He noted that some people in Hong Kong only have a superficial understanding of Deng's remarks and it is critical to study Deng's theory again and further implement the "one country, two systems" principle.
Xu Chongde, a professor at Renmin University of China and former member of the Committee for Drafting the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, pointed out that "one country, two systems" principle refers to the fact that two political systems can exist only one country, i.e. the People's Republic of China. In accordance with the Hong Kong Basic Law, Hong Kong is an administrative region under the direct jurisdiction of the central government.
The concept of Hongkongers governing Hong Kong, which was also put forward by Deng, means that Hong Kong should be governed mainly by patriotic people, the professor said. Hong Kong compatriots should keep a sober mind in this regard.
(China Daily February 23, 2004)