Hong Kong Hang-Ups
China’s “one country, two systems” principle for ruling Hong Kong is becoming more of a “one country, our system.”
Until recently, Hong Kong seemed well on its way to possessing the right to free elections and a democratic government. Just last July, half a million marchers took to the streets demanding democracy; in local elections last November, pro-democracy reformers won in a landslide.
But Beijing has brought Hong Kong’s push for democracy to a grinding halt.
Through a ruling from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (npc) on April 6, Beijing has asserted its right to interpret, at will, the Basic Law—the constitution Britain wrote with Beijing for Hong Kong. According to the npc, Beijing has the right to dictate when and how Hong Kong chooses its leaders, and it can veto any attempt by Hong Kong to change the laws that govern its elections.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan maintained that the npc’s ruling is “beneficial to keep long-term stability in Hong Kong” (China News, April 9). However, as Asia Times wrote, the ruling has effectively “killed political reform in Hong Kong” (April 8).
Continue to watch as China strengthens its grip over Hong Kong, consolidating its power in East Asia.