China warns Hong Kong not to confront Beijing

Zhang Xiaoming (C), director of China's Liaison Office, speaks during a lunch meeting at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong July 16, 2013

Zhang Xiaoming (C), director of China’s Liaison Office, speaks during a lunch meeting at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong July 16, 2013

In its report titled “Zhang Xiaoming: Dissemination of views on Hong Kong independence not tolerated”, Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily says that Zhang Xiaoming, Director of the Central Government’s Liaison Office, summed up for the first time the 79-day Occupation Movement.

He stressed that Hong Kong’s high-degree of autonomy does not mean that Hong Kong was not governed by the central authority. Even less does it tolerate dissemination of views on Hong Kong independence or confrontation with the central authority through illegal ways.

Zhang placed emphasis on the rule of law to denounce the Occupation Movement for violation of the law, and warned of “patriotic education” among Hong Kong youngsters to make them understand and love their country.

Reuters says in its report on Zhang’s speech that Zhang “made clear that Beijing is moving toward tighter control of the global financial hub.”

The following is the full text of Reuters report:

Top China official in Hong Kong warns against confronting Beijing

China’s top official in Hong Kong has warned democracy campaigners in the former British colony against pushing for independence and confronting Beijing, the official news agency, Xinhua, reported.

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong shut down major business districts for 2-1/2 months last year, demanding open nominations in the next election of the city’s chief executive in 2017.

Beijing has said it will allow a vote, but only between pre-screened candidates.

In his most extensive comments since police cleared pro-democracy protesters from the city’s highways in mid-December, Zhang Xiaoming made clear that Beijing is moving toward tighter control of the global financial hub.

“We could not allow any attempt to reject the central authority’s jurisdiction over Hong Kong under the pretext of a high degree of autonomy, to advocate ‘Hong Kong independence,’ or even to overtly confront with the central government through illegal ways,” Zhang said on Wednesday at a reception attended by top officials, according to Xinhua.

There is no mainstream independence movement in Hong Kong, although some activists want a continued campaign of civil disobedience this year to force Beijing to accept fully democratic elections.

Banners seeking to humiliate Hong Kong and Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, festooned streets and government buildings during last year’s protests.

Democratic lawmaker Emily Lau said Zhang’s comments were “improper and inappropriate” for a mainland official and blurred the boundaries between Hong Kong and China’s governance systems.

“It seems they want to interfere, they want to take the lead and it’s very alarming,” Lau said.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula that gave it wide-ranging autonomy and an independent judiciary. But China retained the ultimate authority.

Zhang, the head of China’s Hong Kong liaison office, said on Wednesday it was necessary to rethink the relationship between the two, and that Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests had proved its rule of law could be “very fragile”.

Zhang also suggested Beijing could take a renewed interest in patriotic education, a touchy subject that sparked protests in Hong Kong in 2012.

“Priority should be given to the history, culture and national conditions of China in the education of the young people so that they could fully understand that the destiny and future of Hong Kong are closely connected to those of the motherland,” Zhang said, according to Xinhua.

About 4,000 people attended the reception where Zhang spoke, including Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, officials from state firms and foreign diplomats.

Source: Reuters “Top China official in Hong Kong warns against confronting Beijing”
Source: Oriental Daily “Zhang Xiaoming: Dissemination of views on Hong Kong independence not tolerated” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


Categories: Human Rights & Social Issues

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