China has warned that widespread demonstrations might have a serious impact on the Hong Kong’s special status which will end in 2047 under Beijing’s ‘one country, two systems’ principle, especially at a time when pro-democracy protests in the city are showing no signs of abetting.
“Many people in Hong Kong have been thinking about the future of one country, two systems after 2047. We also need to think of this — what kind of record is Hong Kong going to bring, to win a new mandate from the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese people that it represents at that time,” Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) was quoted as saying.
In the name of strengthening the ‘one country, two systems’, Chinese authorities have recently revealed that the national security legislation will be banning subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign interference.
The new bill has caused deep concern among those who say it could end Hong Kong’s unique status. It could also see China installing its own security agencies in the region for the first time
Critics are of the opinion that the law would destroy the civil liberties that Hong Kong residents enjoy under the ‘one country, two systems’ agreement put in place when the United Kingdom handed the territory back to China in 1997.
According to the Sino-British joint declaration, signed in Beijing on December 19, 1984, by the Prime Ministers of China and Britain, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret Thatcher, it was agreed that China would reassume control of Hong Kong from July 1, 1997.
On June 9 last year, more than one million people held demonstrations against the government’s attempt to legalize extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China. In September that year, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of the extradition bill.
The five demands of the protestors are — withdrawal of the extradition bill, an independent commission of inquiry to investigate rights abuses, an end to the prosecution of protesters, an end to the false labelling of the protests as “riots”, and genuine universal suffrage in the elections of the Chief Executive and Legislative Council of Hong Kong.
However, the rest of the demands such as universal suffrage and an inquiry into alleged police brutality — have been rejected by the city’s leadership and Beijing.