The "one country, two systems" principle has proved to be empty words, said a church official, after Zhang Dejiang, head of China's National People's Congress, warned Hong Kong not to confront the central government. Zhang said the power exercised by the special administrative government is "delegated by but not separated from" the central government when he addressed a symposium to commemorate the 20th
anniversary of the Implementing of Hong Kong Basic Law in Beijing on May 27. "Under no circumstances should anyone be allowed to challenge the power of the central government in the name of a high degree of autonomy," said Zhang, China's third-highest ranking leader, according to Xinhua News Agency. Zhang stressed that Hong Kong is running an "executive-led political system," and rejected the notion of a separation of powers. Jackie Hung, project officer of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, said that it is not the first time Beijing officials have reminded Hong Kong the power the central government has over it. "The white paper in 2014 has already shown the 'one country, two systems' to be empty words," said Hung. The principle of "one country, two systems" that operates in Hong Kong after the former British colony was returned to China in 1997 promised Hong Kongers a high degree of autonomy. However, the white paper released on Aug. 31, 2014 dashed hopes for an open election for Hong Kong's Chief Executive. A campaigner lobbying voters for the Legislative Council Election in Hong Kong on Sept 4, 2016. Beijing recently said that Hong Kong should never challenge the central government. (ucanews.com photo)
Hung said the Umbrella Movement in September 2014, partly triggered by the white paper, was "a turning point for the local democratic movement" as many young people were disappointed after the local government refused to listen to them. The battle is not easy but we cannot surrender, she said, insisting that "only by restarting political reform and revoking the white paper could we really solve the problem." Observers say the fight for democracy is likely to arouse tensions between Hong Kongers and Beijing who has more than once reminded local people they should live under an Hong Kong Basic Law instead of having false hope in western democracy. During his first inspection trip to Macau on May 8-10, Zhang praised Macau as a better model of "one country, two systems." The former Portuguese enclave, an hour ferry trip from Hong Kong, has fewer protests for democracy and enacted the national security law in 2009 without resistance.