Hong Kong set to prosper

‘One country, two systems’ may see some hiccups but not the disruptions of past few years


Soon after being elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee at the 18th National Congress of the CPC in November 2012, Xi Jinping reiterated that China will follow the path of peaceful development but never sacrifice the core national interests.

Yet, the Donald Trump administration adjusted its global strategy in late 2017 and early 2018 and labeled China as one of the main rivals of the United States. 

But even before that, in 2009, the Barack Obama administration had announced its “pivot to Asia” strategy, which was targeted at China.

Leaders of Western countries, such as the US and the United Kingdom, had already drafted anti-China agendas around the time the 18th CPC National Congress was held, given their sense of insecurity due to China’s rise. 

The Western powers’ change of attitude toward China was exactly the reason why Xi Jinping emphatically declared that the Chinese people will never sacrifice their core national interests including the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security and development interests.

Similarly, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has over the past decade fought through hell and high water to safeguard the country’s core interests, including sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In 2014, with active support from the central government, the Hong Kong government put down through peaceful means the “Occupy Central” movement, which was masterminded by external forces hostile to China.

In 2015, the central authorities helped the SAR government to foil subversives’ attempts to seize Hong Kong’s governing power through Legislative Council election on the pretext of establishing “true democracy”.

In 2016, during the Lunar New Year holiday, the SAR government, guided by the central authorities, contained the “Mong Kok riots” started by die-hard separatists.

From late 2017 through early 2018, Washington changed its global strategy, designating China as one of its main rivals, and thus encouraging external forces to more openly interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs in an attempt to seize the SAR’s governing power through their local proxies. 

To defeat such subversive attempts, the Party’s central leadership took effective measures to ensure Beijing exercised full jurisdiction over Hong Kong and to help the SAR government to implement “one country, two systems”.

In 2019, hostile external forces and their local proxies tried to take the separatist movement in Hong Kong to the next level by turning the anti-extradition bill protests into a full-blown “color revolution”.

Thankfully, the central authorities took decisive steps to restore order and rule of law in Hong Kong through the National Security Law, which the SAR government implemented in June 2020. 

This was followed by an overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system through local legislation according to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR to ensure “patriots administering Hong Kong”.

The stabilizing power of the National Security Law was immediately evident, as the “black-clad” insurrection ended as swiftly as it had erupted a year earlier.

The revamped electoral system proved instrumental in the success of the LegCo election in 2021 and chief executive election in the 2022 in ensuring that the original intent of “one country, two systems” is truly reflected in “patriots administering Hong Kong”.

As President Xi Jinping said in his speech on the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong SAR on July 1 this year, “Only when we thoroughly understand the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and grasp the best way to implement it can we ensure the cause of ‘one country, two systems’ proceeds faithfully in the correct direction for many years to come.”

However, external forces are still trying to check China’s peaceful rise. They might also continue to undermine the implementation of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong whose success is a crucial part of the great rejuvenation and reunification of the Chinese nation.

The established entities of the local separatist movement may have been abolished, but some of its die-hard members continue to make trouble.

Also, some Hong Kong residents were so thoroughly brainwashed by Western ideologies that it was impossible to free them of their apologist tendency toward Western geopolitical maneuvers against China. 

Even in the pro-establishment community, there are people who still misunderstand “one country, two systems”. 

Such a mindset is not conducive to faithfully implementing “one country, two systems” and integrating Hong Kong’s development policy with the overall development policy of the country and the SAR playing a major role in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

“One country, two systems” may still experience some minor hiccups but it will definitely not encounter disruptions like the ones seen in the past few years. 

As such, any doubt about the success of “one country, two systems” is unwarranted. Especially, because the upcoming 20th National Congress of the CPC is widely expected to come up with major national policies to guide national development and ensure the smooth implementation of “one country, two systems”.

The author is a senior research fellow of China Everbright Holdings. 

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.