SAR autonomy line absent Premier stresses rule of law for Hong Kong instead during NPC opening2014.03.10
PREMIER Li Keqiang (李克強) did not reiterate “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong” and “a high degree of autonomy” in his first work report at the opening of the annual National People’s Congress (NPC, 全國人民代表大會) in Beijing (北京) last Wednesday.
The two phrases had always been mentioned in reports by former premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) at past NPC meetings.
Instead Li said, “We uphold the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ firmly and implement the Basic Law accurately to ensure the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau (澳門).”
“[The central government] supports Hong Kong and Macau chief executives and their administrations to govern in accordance with the laws, boost economic development, improve citizens’ livelihoods, foster democratic development based on the laws and enhance social harmony.”
Li also said Hong Kong will see prosperous development when the mainland deepens economic reforms.
Li’s remarks came a day after Politburo Standing Committee (中央政治局常委) member and NPC chairman Zhang Dejiang (張德江) told Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (中國人民政治協商會) members from Hong Kong that the high degree of autonomy in the SAR is not a complete autonomy. It means the central government can exercise its governing power after delegating the power to the SAR.
Zhang stated his three wishes for Hong Kong – forge a consensus and set aside differences, promote democracy based on the rule of law, and increase competitiveness to improve people’s livelihoods.
NPC Law Committee chairman Qiao Xiaoyang (喬曉陽) said the central government has not adjusted its policy towards Hong Kong after Li omitted the two phrases.
Retired Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office (港澳事務辦公室) deputy director Chen Zuo’er (陳佐洱) said the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ has already been embedded in the spirits of governance and autonomy.
In Hong Kong, Chief Secretary for Administration (政務司司長) Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (林鄭月娥) said “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong” and “a high degree of autonomy” have always been the central government’s policies towards Hong Kong.