Warning from the top leader against external interference

Updated: 2012-11-10 06:17

By Carrie Chan (HK Edition)

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President Hu Jintao's remarks on Hong Kong and Macao at Thursday's opening of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China should be taken seriously. In fact, he made a subtle and soft warning against an upsurge of external interference seeking separation from the mainland.

The top national leader had called on people of Hong Kong and Macao to define the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" clearly, comprehensively and correctly, in his keynote speech at the 15th anniversary ceremony of the handover in Hong Kong on July 1. He made a clear call for vigilance toward external interference in the SAR.

For the first time on July 1, President Hu called for a clear sense of national identity among Chinese nationals in the two special administrative regions. He called on people in the two regions to "share the dignity and glory of being Chinese" among people of all ethnic groups in China.

"It is vital to uphold China's sovereignty, security and development interests and maintain long-term prosperity and stability of the SARs," he said.

Central government and national leaders had set a new goal for Hong Kong and Macao. During the transitional period, the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" is explicitly aimed to set a good example to the people of Taiwan concerning national unification.

Four months and a week later, President Hu repeated this call and reiterated the terms at the opening of the 18th CPC national congress. He also called on the people of Hong Kong and Macao to play an active role in national affairs. His second mention of this goal was necessary. We should take account of his reminder seriously.

The latest upsurge of dissenting voices is disturbing and annoying. It is not the wish of the majority of people in Hong Kong, nor is it in their interests. The dissension has been stirred up by external forces and a small group of people in Hong Kong who feel nostalgia for the era of British colonial rule or who are preaching separation from the rest of the nation. More disturbingly, as pointed out by some top advisers to Beijing, external forces are actively interfering and breeding these dissenting voices in the city.

The leaders in Hong Kong and Macao SARs are mandated to oversee the implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy fully and faithfully. They must guard against interference in Hong Kong affairs by external forces seeking separation from the mainland, and to deal with any interference that arises.

The president's subtle and soft appeal coincides with the current political landscape in Hong Kong. Lu Ping and Chen Zuo'er, former director and his deputy of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, expressed apprehensions and strong criticism against the upsurge of dissenting voices against the central government and anti-mainland sentiments.

Hu's call at the opening of the CPC conference this week came just weeks after the three-month row over introducing moral and national education course in Hong Kong schools. The city has forged a social consensus that national education is essential and necessary. It is just the manner of delivery that has turned contentious.

Being Chinese nationals in Hong Kong, we feel proud to see national achievements and progress, as well as feeling a sense of national identity, in that we enjoy consular protection and contingency assistance while traveling overseas.

President Hu reasserted his faith that the Hong Kong and Macao leaders can govern and oversee development of the two cities wisely, through their abilities and their resourcefulness. It was not political rhetoric, but a gesture of genuine encouragement, directing the two leaders to work hard to resolve different deep-rooted social problems.

Li Gang, deputy director of the Central Government Liaison Office, has dispelled a rumor that Beijing had given any consideration to replacing Hong Kong's top leader, and endorsed Leung Chun-ying's governance and achievements over his first few months in office. Li appealed to those who are not satisfied with Leung to give the new leader more time and room to deliver good governance.

The author is a veteran journalist and news commentator.

(HK Edition 11/10/2012 page3)