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Commentary: Havoc-wreaking camp pose a great threat
( 2004-01-14 00:29) (China Daily)

The high-profile interference by British and American politicians in Hong Kong's constitutional review debate recently has aroused the central government's concern and the worries of Hong Kong people.

US Senator Sam Brownback went so far as to suggest to protest organizers in the SAR that they provide Hong Kong people an option outside the Basic Law -- putting the mini-constitution aside and going for radical democracy. This is more than making irresponsible comments. It is nothing less than an open challenge to the rule of law.

The Basic Law is Hong Kong's constitution and the foundation for the implementation of "one country, two systems." It was compiled meticulously by the Chinese Government according to the principles laid down in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and taking into account public opinion in Hong Kong and the territory's history and realities.

It fully demonstrates the determination to propel democratization in Hong Kong by gradually enlarging the proportion of directly elected seats in the Legislative Council and specifying the amendment, if necessary, of the methods for selecting the chief executive and the LegCo 10 years after reunification, with the ultimate goal of universal suffrage.

On the other hand, giving due consideration to the social realities in Hong Kong, the Basic Law lays down the practical principle of developing democracy in a gradual and orderly manner to avoid destabilizing society.

Just six years after reunification, the havoc-wreaking camp, working under the "democracy" banner, cannot wait to take control of the ruling power in the SAR. They dare not openly oppose the Basic Law lest they would offend the public. It is their supporters, the British and American politicians, who wantonly suggest to replace the law with another set of laws. After all, Hong Kong is not their home. When Hong Kong is thrown into chaos after the rule of law is gone, they will still be enjoying life in London and New York.

In fact, the UK and the US have adopted double standards over the issue of democracy all along. They are used to meddling in other countries' and regions' internal affairs and selling their democratic values with an arrogant attitude.

What is pitiful is that many countries and areas, which have blindly followed their democratic model, have subsequently fallen into political turmoil and suffered economic disaster.

In order to secure the essence of democracy and avoid its pitfalls, Hong Kong people must develop democracy on a reality basis.

The key in doing this lies in the safeguard of the foundations of the rule of law and the adherence to the right track of the Basic Law. Only reforms achieved on the basis of the rule of law could avoid undermining social prosperity and stability.

The havoc-wreaking camp are certainly happy with the concept of an option outside the Basic Law, but will the central government and the SAR government agree to it? How about the industrial and commercial sectors and the public at large? The answer is clear as daylight. Anybody who cares about Hong Kong does not want to see the SAR beset by incessant disputes and political paralysis brought about by challenges to the rule of law.

With an enormous economic stake in the territory, British and American investors are playing a significant role in the local economy as US companies alone number more than 1,000. They share the same needs and expectations with their local counterparts. That they are still here after 1997 is because they have faith in the SAR's rule of law and business environment under "one country, two systems." Once the authority of the Basic Law vanishes and the rule of law is at stake, they would go home.

If that happens, they would know with whom they should settle their scores, and Brownback and his likes would be in deep trouble.

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