By Liu Yuxi
The National People’s Congress of China approved a draft decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which have drawn wide attention. From the enactment of Law on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong last year to the improvement of the Hong Kong electoral system this year, it fully reflects the firm determination and historic responsibility of China’s highest organ of state to maintain “One Country, Two Systems” and to ensure the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. In order to let African friends understand the whole story, I would like to introduce the history of Hong Kong again.
Hong Kong of China had been occupied by the British since 1841, soon followed by the British colonial rule. During the 150+years of colonialism, the governors directly appointed by the British government took all the power and there was neither elections nor democracy at all. In 1997, China, the motherland, resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. In the following 24 years, the central government has always adhered to the principles of “One Country, Two Systems”, ” Hong Kong People Administering Hong Kong “, “A High Degree of Autonomy”, and acts strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR of China. As a result, “One Country, Two Systems” has achieved universally recognized success. Hong Kong’s political democracy has also developed in an orderly manner, and Hong Kong people are enjoying unprecedented rights in accordance with the law.
However, in recent years, especially since the suspension of the legislative amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance in 2019, anti-China individuals in Hong Kong has colluded with foreign anti-China forces. They openly advocated “Hong Kong independence”，and even unscrupulously engaged in anti-China activities through the SAR election platform, the legislative council, the district council meeting platform, and through the abuse of relevant public positions. They tried to paralyze the operation of the SAR Legislative Council, obstruct the SAR government’s legitimate administration, challenge the authority of the central government and seize the SAR’s governance power. Some anti-China individuals in Hong Kong even publicly declared that their purpose of running for the Legislative Council was to shut down the SAR government, to incite students and citizens to commit street violence, and finally to prompt the western countries to impose political and economic sanctions on China. As such, the political security and social stability of the Hong Kong SAR have been threatened as never before due to the unsound electoral system. Therefore, the improvement of the Hong Kong SAR’s electoral system has reached the point of extreme urgency.
Patriotism is both the original aspiration and the starting point of administering Hong Kong SAR. The guiding principle, “Patriots administering Hong Kong”, is demonstrated in the move to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system. Several western media tend to make accusations and defamation about this, challenging why “patriots administering HK”, or “One Country, Two Systems” is violated, etc. Looking around the world, all public service aspirants have to show their patriotism and swear loyalty to their motherland. As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong’s governance must be in the hands of patriots, which is a basic political ethic, lawful and justified. No country will hand over the governance of its jurisdiction to people who do not recognize their own country and nation. In addition, “Patriots administering Hong Kong” is embodied in the “One Country, Two Systems” policy. In order to ensure the practice of “One Country, Two Systems” continues to move on the right course steadily and further, administrators of Hong Kong must be able to fully and accurately understand and implement the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, recognizing that “One Country” is the prerequisite and foundation of “Two Systems”, and stand firmly against foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs.
China and the majority of African countries have similar experiences, making long and arduous struggles to escape colonial rule, thus to know well that our destiny and development path can only be controlled in our own hands. Recently at the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva, Belarus delivered a joint speech on behalf of 70 countries, emphasizing that Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs and should not be interfered by outsiders. Many of 70 countries are African brothers and I am grateful for that. I believe that the African brothers can continue to understand and support China’s positions and efforts of improving Hong Kong’s electoral system and the “One Country, Two Systems”, safeguarding national sovereignty, security, development interests and Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability, as well as opposing external forces interfering in Hong Kong affairs.
Liu Yuxi is Chinese Ambassador to the African Union