Home / News

NPC warns against calls for independence

By Shadow Li (China Daily)

Updated: 2015-03-07 08:55:22


Any 'intolerable' remarks will jeopardize society's stability and country's security, chairman says

Any remarks advocating independence for Hong Kong will be "intolerable" and "jeopardize both Hong Kong society's stability and the country's security and interests", Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said on Friday.

"Some people think that if the political reform stands still, it will be scrapped and start all over again. It is not like that. The historic opportunity must be seized and won't happen again if it is missed," Zhang said.

He said Hong Kong had encountered three new problems - attempts to derail the democracy process, a worrying lack of knowledge about the Basic Law among young people, and the adverse effects of the Occupy Central campaign.

National sovereignty and security is a red line that must not be crossed, he said.

He told Hong Kong deputies attending the two sessions that people who are making every endeavor, both externally and internally, to prevent Hong Kong from achieving universal suffrage in 2017 will be held liable by history.

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, vice-chairwoman of the NPC's Hong Kong SAR Basic Law Committee, said the central government is well aware of what happens in Hong Kong and has a clear policy toward the region.

"I think the NPC's decision in August made it clear that it won't restart the political reform process aimed at introducing universal suffrage in 2017," said Leung.

"Achieving universal suffrage is a goal, but it doesn't mean that the election method can't be improved after realizing the goal."

Zhang said the country should remain vigilant over calls for independence, even though this was being advocated by only a small number of people.

Looking forward, Zhang said Hong Kong has three targets - to make every effort to introduce universal suffrage, to achieve it in accordance with the Basic Law and the NPC's decision last August, and to "jointly build up a Hong Kong dream".

He said the central government is confident that Hong Kong can proceed smoothly to democracy while maintaining its prosperity.

Earlier on Friday, Britain's House of Commons issued a report attacking the NPC's August decision on the election of Hong Kong's chief executive and Legislative Council.

Hong Kong NPC deputies described Britain's behavior as "driving a wedge between" the central government and the region.

Deputy Ngan Po-ling said: "This is exactly what Zhang has warned us about previously, people with ulterior motives. The issue should be dealt with by Hong Kong and the central government ourselves."

Connie Lam Shuk-yee, a Hong Kong member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, questioned the legal grounds on which the British report was issued.

"What position do the British have in this?" Lam said. "They shouldn't interfere with China's internal affairs and should mind their own business."

NPC deputy Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said the British Parliament is not helping and will only make things worse.

"In the worst scenario, it will stop Hong Kong from moving forward with its democracy process and take the region back to where it started," added Fan.