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Why did President Xi change his mind on keeping ‘Basic Law’ and the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement in Hong Kong until 2047?

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Questa volta abbiamo cercato: Why did President Xi change his mind on keeping ‘Basic Law’ and the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement in Hong Kong until 2047?


In 2017, President Xi expressed a statement on the matter.

“The only public hint of how Chinese President Xi Jinping views the issue came in 2017, when he told the party’s 19th Congress that “we should ensure that the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ remains unchanged.” Some observers interpreted his language as indicating a willingness to extend the status, or something like it.”

And a member of a non-profit research organization stated this: “It’s an arrangement that works for China in many ways, including by underpinning Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub. China has an interest in preserving the city’s status because it’s seen as a model for the reunification of Taiwan”

If that is the case, why doesn’t China want to maintain that interest?

Ed ecco le risposte:

Dictators hate free press, free elections, free media, students who talk about whatever they want. They hate sharing power and if you aren’t under their control they will use force.

Because I don’t agree with simply saying “China is evil” as an answer even though that’s MassimoL’s opinion, I’ve gone and read an article about it on Xinhua (chinese version), which reports the speech given by Wang Chen, the vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress, to this same Congress.

Of course remember to stay critical to what I say and to what the Chinese press agency says (as you should do with any news anyway). I’m just a translator and mistakes can be made, I won’t make the whole translation though, just a quick rundown:


Link to the article

1st Paragraph:
>王晨作说明时说,香港回归以来,国家坚定贯彻“一国两制”、“港人治港”、高度自治的方针,“一国两制”实践在香港取得了前所未有的成功;[…] 这些行为和活动,严重挑战“一国两制”原则底线,严重损害法治,严重危害国家主权、安全、发展利益,必须采取有力措施依法予以防范、制止和惩治。

From the moment Hong Kong was given back to China, the PCC has worked to put the “one country two systems” into practice. However, in this process [the CCP] has encountered a few unprecedented problems that threatened to break the country’s integrity: Hong Kong protests of 2019, demands for a referendum and independence, but also openly insulting mainland China, destroying of chinese flags, besieging the central power’s buildings etc. (this list is pretty long)

Foreign governments and powers have also interfered into these affairs and supported Hong Kong in their activities against the mainland government. These behaviours are a serious challenge to the “one country two systems” principle and harm the country’s rule of law as well as the country’s (I guess they talk about China as a whole, including HK) sovereignty, security and development.

2nd Paragraph:
>香港基本法第23条规定:“香港特别行政区应自行立法禁止任何叛国、分裂国家、煽动叛乱、颠覆中央人民政府及窃取国家机密的行为,禁止外国的政治性组织或团体在香港特别行政区进行政治活动,禁止香港特别行政区的政治性组织或团体与外国的政治性组织或团体建立联系。[…] 总的看,香港基本法明确规定的23条立法有被长期“搁置”的风险,香港特别行政区现行法律的有关规定难以有效执行,维护国家安全的法律制度和执行机制都明显存在不健全、不适应、不符合的“短板”问题,致使香港特别行政区危害国家安全的各种活动愈演愈烈,保持香港长期繁荣稳定、维护国家安全面临着不容忽视的风险。

This paragraph recalls the draft of the 2003 law that you can find here, this law wasn’t passed for more or less the same reasons. There are other laws, some dating from before the handover, that could’ve increased the national security but that have been put in a “hibernation state”. Apart from shortcomings in its law system, Hong Kong also has shortcomings in the structures, equipment/manpower and authority in the matter of guaranteeing its national security. Work has to be done to remedy those shortcomings.

Paragraph 3 doesn’t bring any new information so I’ll skip it.

4th Paragraph:

There are multiple ways to implement and ensure the security of the nation and of the HKSAR. After analyse and research, it has been decided to implement it in two steps by “decision and legislation”. The first step is to make a decision on the in accordance with HKSAR’s Basic Law and the PRC’s Constitution as well as their law implementation mechanism, and to draw a few basic regulations from there. The second step is to implement these decisions in the HKSAR’s law (annex 3*) and implement and carry them out in HK proper.

Skipping Paragraph 5

6th Paragraph:


Wang Chen says the implementation of the laws will be done according to the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era, with the aim to guarantee national security, reinforce and improve the “one country two systems” principle, combine the CCP’s right to governance and HKSAR’s right to self-governance, ensure HK’s stability and economic development and guarantee that the principle of “one country two systems” won’t change.

All the paragraphs before the big title 决定草案的主要内容:

In order to carry out the laws according to the aforementioned requirements, some basic principles must be followed:

  1. Guarantee national security. Any challenge to the national security, to Chinese or HKSAR law and other destructive behaviour cannot be permitted.

  2. Guarantee and improve the “one country two systems” principle. “One country” is the premise and the requirement to “two systems”.

  3. Guarantee the rule of law in HK.

  4. Oppose any foreign interference. Hong Kong’s affairs are internal affairs and any interference by a foreign country, institution or individual is to be prevented and restrained.

  5. Guarantee the legal rights of every HK citizen as much as feasible. Guaranteeing the national security is similar to protecting human rights. The punishment of any conduct dangerous to national security by the minority is done to ensure the rights of the lives and estates of the majority and to safeguard their rights and freedom.

Last paragraphs are about the proposed draft:

The draft has 7 articles:

Article one guarantees the application the principles of “one country two systems” and “HK people rule HK” and emphasizes on the necessary measures taken to safeguard national security.

Article two expounds on the fight against foreign interference in this matter.

Article three says that the HKSAR should, as soon as possible, implement the regulations about the protection of national security in its own law in order to stop and punish any anti-national security conduct.

Article four clarifies that the HKSAR should create structures and law implementation mechanisms to ensure safeguarding of national security.

Article five states that HKSAR’s chief executive should do anything necessary to implement these laws and to promote national security.

Article six explains de rights of the Standing Committee National People’s Congress on this matter, which are a. the rights of the Committee to make laws to enforce and carry out the policies to protect national security, b. the mission of the Committee on this matter is to prevent, curb and stop any anti-national security conduct, c. the law voted by the Committee will enter HKSAR’s law annex 3 and will be published and carried out by the HKSAR

Article seven says that the law will take effect from the moment of this publication.


This is more or less the gist of it. It’s still pretty long even though I tried to only take the most important parts to answer your question. Make of it what you will, but I think it does give an insight to the PRC’s opinion on the matter. If I can answer any more questions feel free to ask.

Changed his mind? Why assume truth in any of this? Lying and spinning is SOP for China’s government. Those non-profits guessing and just saying things is nothing new either.

China does whatever they want and will say an do anything to further their interest.

Ask this question in /r/Sino to get the Chinese view.

Very unlikely you’ll get a China centric view in this subreddit.