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Time to Reflect on 'One Country, Two Systems'

Deng Xiaoping's "One Country, Two Systems" principle lays the foundation for Hong Kong's stability and prosperity. People need to think about this before casting ballots in Legislative Council (LegCo) election, according to a signed article in Ta Kung Pao.

August 22 marks the centenary of the birth of Deng Xiaoping.

As the Legislative Council election has entered the crucial stage, it is all the more meaningful to remind ourselves of Deng and the "One Country, Two Systems" principle he laid down.

When people talk about Deng, the chief architect of China's reforms and opening up, they tend to praise him as a statesman. As a matter of fact, he was more than a political theorist. He was a political practitioner who was able to foresee two decades ago many of those things that are happening today.

He defined in his speeches the proper pace for Hong Kong's democratization and the formation of its political system. Many Hongkongers feel that "One Country, Two Systems" has laid a smooth path of development for the city.

But some people's understanding of Deng's "One Country, Two Systems" principle is less than sufficient, particularly the "One Country" part. It seems they can only see the "Two Systems" and fail to grasp its relationship with "One Country". They have not recognized that "One Country" should be the major premise of "Two Systems".

In fact, if they could just look seriously around on the mainland, it would not be hard for them to find out the difference between "One Country" and "Two Systems" and come to appreciate and treasure the central government's good will toward Hong Kong in implementing the Individual Visit Scheme, Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and the Pan Pearl River Delta co-operation.

There is a concept that must be clearly established: As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong has to be a SAR under the premise of "One Country". This is the only way to give fuller play to the advantage accorded to Hong Kong by "One Country" and to actualize a degree of prosperity unrivalled during the more than 100 years of colonial rule. The SAR is not another system that is willfully advanced without regard to "One Country".

Under the current political and economic situation in Hong Kong, commemorating Deng has a special and significant meaning for Hong Kong people. The commemoration activities will not only have a calming-down effect and instill positive elements into society, but will serve as a unifying force that helps different sectors of society to close ranks and plan for the SAR's future together.

Any political force in the SAR that could seek consensus under the principal premise of loving the country and Hong Kong will be able to achieve a positive impact on the local political and economic scene. This is Deng's hope for Hong Kong.

In fact, any newborn system has to be gradually perfected through practice. Implementing such a novel system as "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong takes time to prove its worth. During the process, it is not surprising to see the emergence of different opinions.

In spite of this, it is important to unify the majority of Hong Kong people, helping them to gain a better grasp of Deng's concepts and to make them understand how special is this piece of land.

Historically, Hong Kong has suffered immensely from foreign intervention, the negative impact on the territory of which should not be underestimated. Enormous effort is needed to completely remove this malicious tumour and make Hong Kong, this other system under "Two Systems", a success.

Seven years after reunification, the concept of "One Country, Two Systems" and Hong Kong people's efforts in realizing it have won the recognition of the rest of the world.

Hence, even though discord still exists between the so-called "pro-democracy" camp and the patriotic camp during the run-up to the LegCo election, we fully believe that with more and more Hong Kong people accepting the positive ideas and with Hongkongers having a better understanding of "One Country, Two Systems", they will ultimately unify themselves to champion this concept.

The reason is simple. Hong Kong people will definitely refuse to be used by foreign forces or a handful of people with ulterior motives as soon as they have come to realize their real intention of wreaking havoc in the SAR.

Even though some people in Hong Kong stubbornly adhere to their "democratic" concepts for which they have made waves in the community, the mainstream ideology that is really beneficial to the territory is also gaining popularity. Please tell those who lack faith in the megatrend of history not to worry or feel sad. Hong Kong will certainly see a better and more prosperous tomorrow.

When we are cherishing the memory of Deng at this centenary of his birthday, what we should bear in mind is that Hong Kong requires solidarity and courage to accomplish further development by riding on the advantage of "One Country, Two Systems".

(China Daily HK Edition August 18, 2004)

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