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Ensuring patriots' role in HK fully justified

By Liu Yuxi | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-03-15 10:42
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Citizens display China's national flag in support of implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" at Tamar Park in Hong Kong, March 6, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, has approved a decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which has drawn wide attention.

From the enactment last year of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong, to the improvement of the Hong Kong electoral system this year, the firm determination and historic responsibility of China's highest organ of State to maintain "one country, two systems", and to ensure the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, are fully reflected.

In order to understand the whole story, I would like to introduce the history of Hong Kong again.

Hong Kong had been occupied by the British since 1841, soon followed by British colonial rule. During the 150-plus years of colonialism, the governors directly appointed by the British government took all the power, and there were neither elections nor democracy at all.

In 1997, China, the motherland, resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. In the following 24 years, the central government has always adhered to the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and "a high degree of autonomy", and it acts strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR. As a result, "one country, two systems" has achieved universally recognized success.

Hong Kong's political democracy has also developed in an orderly manner, and Hong Kong people are enjoying unprecedented rights in accordance with the law.

However, in recent years, especially since the withdrawal of legislative amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance in 2019, anti-China individuals in Hong Kong colluded with foreign anti-China forces. They openly advocated "Hong Kong independence"-and even unscrupulously engaged in anti-China activities through the SAR election platform, the Legislative Council and the district council meeting platform, and through the abuse of relevant public positions.

They also tried to paralyze the operation of the Legislative Council, obstruct the SAR government's legitimate administration, challenge the authority of the central government, and seize the SAR's governance power.

Some anti-China individuals in Hong Kong even publicly declared that their purpose of running for the Legislative Council was to shut down the SAR government, to incite students and citizens to commit street violence, and finally to prompt Western countries to impose political and economic sanctions on China. As such, the political security and social stability of the Hong Kong SAR have been threatened as never before due to the unsound electoral system. Therefore, the improvement of the Hong Kong SAR's electoral system has reached the point of extreme urgency.

Patriotism is both the original aspiration and the starting point of administering Hong Kong. The guiding principle, "patriots administering Hong Kong", is demonstrated in the move to improve Hong Kong's electoral system. Some Western media tend to make accusations about and defame this, challenging "patriots administering Hong Kong" and "one country, two systems".

Looking around the world, all public service aspirants have to show their patriotism and swear loyalty to their motherland. Since Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, its governance must be in the hands of patriots, which is a basic political ethic that is lawful and justified.

No country will hand over the governance of its jurisdiction to people who do not recognize their own country and nation. In addition, "patriots administering Hong Kong" is embodied in the "one country, two systems" policy. In order to ensure that the practice of "one country, two systems "continues to move on the right course, steadily and further, administrators of Hong Kong must be able to fully and accurately understand and implement "one country, two systems"-recognizing that "one country" is the prerequisite and foundation of "two systems"-and stand firmly against foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs.

China and the majority of African countries have similar experiences, making long and arduous struggles to escape colonial rule, and thus know well that our destiny and development paths can only be controlled in our own hands. Recently, at the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva, Belarus delivered a joint speech on behalf of 71 countries, emphasizing that Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs and should not be interfered with by outsiders.

Many of the 71 countries are African brothers, and I am grateful for that. I believe that the African brothers can continue to understand and support China's positions and efforts to improve Hong Kong's electoral system and "one country, two systems", safeguard national sovereignty, security, development interests and Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability, and oppose external forces interfering in Hong Kong's affairs.

The author is the head of the Chinese Mission to the African Union.

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