The National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, on March 11th adopted a decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) by an overwhelming majority vote during the fourth session of the 13th NPC, which has drawn wide attention. This is a major event in the political life of the people in Hong Kong, as well as a crucial step towards the steady and sustained implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle. But it is regrettable that some countries interfere in China’s internal affairs and interpret the said decision maliciously, calling black white. On this decision, I have some key points of view to share with our Tanzanian friends.
I. Improving the electoral system of the HKSAR is imperative and urgent. During the 150-plus years of colonialism, there was no democracy in Hong Kong, and its people did not even have the right to march on the streets. It was only after reunification with the motherland that Hong Kong had really started development of democracy. The Chinese Central Government has steadily promoted the development of Hong Kong’s democratic political system and ensured that Hong Kong residents enjoy unprecedented democratic rights and freedom in accordance with the law.
However, in recent years, the electoral system of the HKSAR has shown some defects. With the support of some external forces, the anti-China rioters and the advocates of “Hong Kong independence” have been trying to capitalize on these defects to challenge the constitutional order in HKSAR and jeopardize the national sovereignty and security of China. The political security and social stability of Hong Kong have also been threatened due to the unsound electoral system. Therefore, the Chinese Central Government believes it is extremely urgent to revise and improve the electoral system of the HKSAR, and let patriots govern Hong Kong. This initiative has been echoed and supported by the people from all walks of life in Hong Kong.
II. Improving the electoral system of the HKSAR is justified and reasonable. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. The design, development and improvement of the electoral system in Hong Kong is an inviolable right of the Central Government. That the Central Government decides the electoral system of regions is the common legal system and political bottom line of all unitary states.
It is a basic political ethic that the jurisdiction of Hong Kong must be in the hands of patriots. Over the past 20-plus years since Hong Kong’s reunification with the motherland, facts have proved that a small number of anti-China rioters in Hong Kong will bring destruction, turbulence and terror to Hong Kong only. Is there any country in the world that would give the jurisdiction of any part of its territory to the hands of those who advocate or engage in separatist activities? Only patriots can truly strive for the well-being of Hong Kong people, bring prosperity and stability to Hong Kong, and promote the common development of Hong Kong and the motherland.
Ill. Improving the electoral system of the HKSAR is constitutional and lawful. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that the NPC has the right to decide on the establishment and system of special administrative regions, including the electoral system. What’s more, some provisions in the Basic Law of the HKSAR stipulate that the ultimate aim of the Hong Kong political system reforms is the selection of the Chief Executive and the election of all members of the Legislative Council (Leg Co) by universal suffrage. Improving the electoral system of the HKSAR this time does not modify these provisions, and the aforementioned ultimate aim has not changed at all.
In fact, some anti-China groups in HKSAR backed by external forces have jeopardized the constitutional order and the rule of law in Hong Kong as well as China’s national security. The purpose of improving the electoral system of HKSAR is to maintain the authority of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and to ensure that the development of democracy in Hong Kong returns to the right track determined by the Basic Law of the HKSAR.
IV. The principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs remains the cornerstone of the international law, which will never fade. As we always say, justice will prevail. On March 5th, a joint statement from 70 countries including Tanzania was delivered at the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, reiterating their support for China’s “one country, two systems” principle and measures taken in relation to Hong Kong. Every country has the right to explore its own political system and democratic form which suit its own national conditions. As Tanzania choose the unique Union Government System to maintain national unity and socioeconomic development, the Chinese people has adopted the “one country, two systems” principle which has been playing an important role in safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security, development interests and Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.
The decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR conforms to the principle of “one country, two systems”, meets the realities in the HKSAR and serves to ensure that Hong Kong is administered by those people who love China and love Hong Kong. We hold a firm belief that “patriots administering Hong Kong” is conducive to maintaining stability and promoting prosperity in the HKSAR.
The writer Ms Wang Ke is Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania.