Why China decides to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system?

By RAO Hongwei
On 18 March 2021 at 07:09

The 4th session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China held recently made a decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system, aiming at a new electoral system that suits Hong Kong’s realities. This is an important move to uphold the “one country, two systems” policy, to implement the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”, and to maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. Let me share with you the following views.

First, it is imperative that China improves Hong Kong’s electoral system. Since Hong Kong returned to China as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) in 1997, the Chinese Central Government has all along fully and faithfully implemented the policies of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy. We have run Hong Kong affairs in accordance with the law, upheld the constitutional order in Hong Kong as established by the Constitution of China and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, supported the development of democracy in Hong Kong, with achievements recognized by international communities.

However, in recent years, anti-China, destabilizing forces and radical localists in Hong Kong have openly clamoured for "Hong Kong independence". Taking advantage of loopholes in current electoral system, they entered various government and legislative institutions via election, blatantly carried out activities to paralyze the functioning of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong and obstruct the law-based governance of the SAR Government. Some even tried to challenge the authority of the Chinese Central Government and seize jurisdiction over the SAR. The rioting and turbulence occurred in the Hong Kong society reveals that the existing electoral system in Hong Kong has clear loopholes and deficiencies. We feel obliged to take measures to improve the system and remove the risks.

Second, it is legitimate that China improves Hong Kong’s electoral system. Hong Kong is one of China’s local administrative regions, Hong Kong’s electoral system is in nature part of China’s local electoral system. How to develop and improve Hong Kong’s electoral system is purely China’s internal affair, which foreign countries have no right to interfere in. Just as laws and rules concerning local elections in Rwanda need to be decided by the Parliament, China’s top legislature, the NPC has the right to decide on Hong Kong’s electoral system. This decision fully accords with China’s constitution, the Basic Law of Hong Kong, as well as worldwide common practices, and holds indisputable legitimacy. Some western countries try to find fault with the “patriots governing Hong Kong” principle, but neglect their own requirements that their citizens or people in public office need to pledge loyalty to their country. It is more than reasonable that Hong Kong, as a Chinese SAR, shall be governed by people who love their country.

Third, it is favourable to Hong Kong itself if its electoral system gets improved. Democracy had been almost absent from Hong Kong’s 150-plus years of colonial rule, and has only been established and promoted since its return to China. China will not simply copy other country’s electoral system when improving Hong Kong’s, will instead proceed based on Hong Kong’s realities. The new system will reflect the interests of society, ensure extensive and balanced political participation, so as to promote social cohesion in Hong Kong. All in all, to improve the electoral system is to ensure a healthier and better development of Hong Kong’s democracy under the “one country, two systems” policy.

China and Rwanda share the same notion that the development path of a country shall only be chosen by itself and its people. We both adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, including respect the sovereignty of states, and non-intervention in the internal affairs of any state. Rwanda always expresses its support for China in implementing the "one country, two systems" policy, its opposition against foreign interference in China’s political and socio-economic issues, and its belief in China’s ability to manage its internal affairs. This fully highlights the deep friendship between the two countries, and we applaud and appreciate Rwanda’s solidarity with us. China will remain committed to Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability. Hong Kong’s future will be brighter!

Author: RAO Hongwei, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of
the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Rwanda


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