One of the global focuses of China’s two sessions currently being held in Beijing is how China can improve and implement the unprecedented “one country, two systems” policy to facilitate national unification and rejuvenation. Hong Kong Special Administrative Region residents, in particular, are concerned about how the unique policy will raise the city to new heights.
The central government has already given clear directions for the city to follow. Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has earlier told Hong Kong members of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of “four demands” that the people of Hong Kong must meet.
The “four demands” are: Understanding better the country’s Constitution, Basic Law and the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” so that the national security and development interests as well as long-time stability and prosperity of Hong Kong can be safeguarded; seizing business opportunities in the post-pandemic era to integrate the city into the national development plan; resolving livelihood issues such as housing, employment, youth development and care for the elderly; telling the story of China and its Hong Kong SAR well, particularly the successful implementation of the “one country, two systems” policy to other people of the world.
Of the “four demands”, leveraging the advantages as an SAR of China to participate intensively in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and winning the world’s support for the unique political system are crucial to helping the HKSAR restore its status as the most open, dynamic and internationalized city of China.
The GBA is one of the most vibrant megalopolises in the country. It has the highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country and houses the majority of China’s most innovative technology companies. As an SAR and bridge connecting the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world with numerous competitive advantages under the “one country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong can act as a superconnector to facilitate the development of the GBA by providing excellent infrastructure, networks, talent pools, and internationally compatible commercial and legal systems.
If Hong Kong can integrate well with Macao and the other nine GBA cities, so that their advantages help the city cluster develop into an international first-class bay area ideal for living, working and traveling, the vast job opportunities available shall provide excellent career prospects for the younger generation and professionals of Hong Kong in the coming decades.
Moreover, the successful transformation of the GBA into an advanced economy will serve as a springboard for Hong Kong talent to tap into the huge markets of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement among major Asia-Pacific nations and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a national strategic plan engineered by China to improve connectivity and cooperation on a transcontinental scale.
If Hong Kong integrates well into the GBA, then extends gradually its playing field to RCEP and BRI, it will certainly be a win-win situation for both the Chinese mainland and the SAR.
It is the wish of all patriotic Chinese people to see implementation of the unprecedented “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong and Macao finally extended to Taiwan. It was initially designed as an experiment using the two SARs to create a “showroom” effect for Taiwan, which has been separated from the Chinese mainland since a civil war 74 years ago. The principle’s final destination is the mainland’s peaceful reunification with Taiwan.
However, in hindsight, escalating protests from 2012 onwards which climaxed in the 2019 riots in the HKSAR have clearly shown that the anti-China forces have never stopped orchestrating seditious events to interrupt the “one country, two systems” framework. Their ultimate aim is to block China’s peaceful process of national unification despite the HKSAR returning to its motherland 25 years ago.
The implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, the revamp of the city’s electoral system and the implementation of “patriots administering Hong Kong” were to restore the rule of law and order in Hong Kong, not the false accusation by China-bashers that the SAR is losing much of its freedom.
The three remedial measures will not be sufficient to eradicate subversive threats hidden throughout the community because of the long-term political brainwashing carried out by anti-China forces on a large number of Hong Kong people, especially the younger generation. Their continuous smearing of “one country, two systems” through powerful media has seriously damaged Hong Kong’s reputation as the most open, dynamic and inclusive city in China. The “four demands” put forward by the central government are to implement “one country, two systems” better for the benefit of the country and the SAR.
To build up strong immunity against foreign propaganda, the SAR government and its residents must work together in the post-COVID-19 era to resolve the many livelihood issues that have plagued the city for years. If our living standards can be much improved, everyone will be happy and willing to “sell” the good news stories of China and HKSAR to foreigners.
Furthermore, the SAR government also needs to educate the younger generation about their cultural roots, the great achievements of the ruling CPC over the years, the positive changes of the socialism with Chinese characteristics, the peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between capitalism and socialism under “one country, two systems” and the importance of developing the GBA for the country and the SAR. The more they know about their motherland, the stronger their patriotism and sense of belonging.
All in all, “one country, two systems” is a constitutional principle of the People’s Republic of China. It permits the SAR to maintain its unique character and lifestyle. We need to treasure, safeguard and make full use of its special privileges to seek advancement for the country and the city we love.
The author, a Hong Kong-based freelance writer, is an adviser to the Hong Kong Association of Media Veterans.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.