The Corner for Political & Business Views - The Necessity for Hong Kong to Maintain “One Country, Two Systems”
I just traveled back to Hong Kong from Guangzhou on High Speed Rail. The arrival process was smooth, convenient and advanced. Dinner time has already passed when I left the station and I was weary after working for a whole day. Thanks to the availability of High-Speed Rail and the “co-location arrangement”, the immigration clearance was fast, and I was home soon. The experience reminded me of the dispute about the joint rail checkpoint arrangement. I could not help but doubt if it really is an evil deal. Is it really better and safer for Hong Kong to have no such arrangement?
In my opinion, the co-location arrangement dispute was simply a tool to arouse fear. The main arguments brought forth by the critics were: First, the arrangement is equal to ceding Hong Kong land to Mainland. In fact, Hong Kong already has its PLA barracks and many foreign consulates, and those are precedents of “local lands being controlled by foreign countries”. Why is it necessary to exaggerate the issue then? Second, the High-Speed Rail station in Hong Kong would become a major location in which Chinese officials enforce their law in Hong Kong. My view is: There are plenty of state-owned institutions and groups in Hong Kong. A building under the authority of the Hong Kong government would be an unwise choice if China really wants to find a location in which she can enforce the law. There also are different means of transport for mainlanders to come and go. If “enforcing laws across the boundary” is really necessary, I believe the officials can still “fulfill their duties” easily without High-Speed Rail.
I think the core of the problem is that many Hong Kong people have no confidence in China’s rule of law; they have doubt about the Hong Kong government's determination to protect Hong Kong people in the face of overseas law enforcement forces. The Snowden incident is a proof of the government ’s willingness to counter the US law enforcement pressure. What if the pressure is from the Chinese government then? Whenever the Hong Kong government responds to an unconfirmed cross-border law enforcement incident, the spokesmen just keep going around in circle. The unresolved doubt leads to public unrest which is further worsened by the cumbersome remarks from the pan-establishment camp.
The existence of one country, two systems suggests that there is a great difference between the two systems. Yet, the implementation of "two systems" is an advantage of Hong Kong. It maintains the city’s international competitiveness while allowing it to serve as an important strategic location of China. Stirring the public's suspicion and questioning the government are both the never-changing practice and political responsibility of the opposition camp. Things usually get worse when neither the government nor the pan-establishment camp can understand the public’s concern and resolve their doubts. I believe only by striving to maintain “one country, two systems” can we pave a bright future for the next generation.
Chairman of Asia Allied Infrastructure
(This is a Chinese-to-English translation by Corporate Communications Department. The original article has been published in Headline Daily on 1 April 2019.)