Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hong Kong's New Reality

Britain transferred sovereignty over Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, when Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of China (HKSAR).  It was to be governed by a Basic Law, a mini-constitution, in accordance with Deng Xiaoping's formula of "One Country, Two Systems." Hong Kong was to enjoy a high degree of autonomy.

Freedom from mainland control is stipulated in Chapter I: General Principles.  Article 5 states that "The socialist system and policies [of The People's Republic of China] shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remained unchanged for 50 years."

In the past few years, China's Central Government has increasingly encroached on Hong Kong's liberties.  These violations were forecast in our book published twenty years ago in 1996.

1 comment :

Thomas Bartlett said...

China does not acknowledge that its sovereignty over Hong Kong was ever lost. China views the 1842 Treaty of Nanking as an "Unequal Treaty", negotiated at gunpoint, therefore the treaty's reference to transfer of sovereignty in perpetuity is null and void. Rather, says China, the only transfer made was that of administrative control. In that sense, One Country Two Systems has been in place since 1842 and HK's sovereignty was never anything but Chinese. Therefore, China did not allow the issue of Hong Kong's status to be treated by the UN's office for decolonization. As with the South China Sea issue, China claims continuous sovereignty since "antiquity", thus pre-empting any role for colonial powers or their modern successor states in negotiations about the status of territories and seas that China claims. One may say this is a legal nicety, but one would do well not to forget it when thinking about the subject of Hong Kong.