The remarks by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, the architect of the "one country, two systems" principle, on the principle's definition and interpretation, are still sound and important guidelines for handling the Hong Kong issue appropriately, according to a legal expert who helped draft Hong Kong's basic law.
"Years of practice indicate that the principle, already translated into China's Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong, is a powerful state policy of much vitality," said Xu Chongde, professor of Renmin University of China and former member of the Committee for Drafting the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), quasi-constitution of Hong Kong.
When designing the political system Hong Kong would be under after China resumed its exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, Deng said in 1987 that Hong Kong should not adopt a totally Westernized system, copying the Western one, and called for a system based on the actual situation of Hong Kong.
Deng also said Hong Kong should be governed by the people of Hong Kong with patriots as its main body. Patriots, according to Deng, refers to those who respect his or her own nation, wholeheartedly support China's resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, and do no harm to the region's prosperity and stability.
The professor said a small number of Hong Kong people, however, ignored the fact that Hong Kong's autonomy is authorized by the National People's Congress of China and the law.
Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong is simply an administrative region under the direct jurisdiction of the central government, and the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, authorizes the region to practice a high degree of autonomy, said the professor.
The professor accuses the small number of people in Hong Kong of pushing forward constitutional reforms outside the framework of the Basic Law as they want to decide the reforms "on their own". Some seek universal suffrage to choose the chief executive of the HKSAR government.
The first HKSAR chief executive was elected through a broad-based committee comprised of Hong Kong people in December of 1996 according to law, and was later approved by the central government.
"We, of course, welcome real democracy" so long as it is in line with the Basic Law and favorable to the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, said the professor.
The professor said the small minority in Hong Kong proceeded from their idea of using democracy as a tool against the central government, and adopted confrontational attitudes, opposing whatever policies from the central government.
China has practiced the policy of "one country, two systems" since it resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong since July 1, 1997.
The policy refers to the fact that there is one country, the People's Republic of China, which has two political systems, the Socialist one on the Chinese mainland and the Capitalist one in Hong Kong, having been in place for at least 50 years.
(Xinhua News Agency February 29, 2004)