(East-West Question) Han Dayuan: On the 25th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong, how do you view achievements, challenges and future?

  China News Service, Beijing, June 27th: How do you view the achievements, challenges and future of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China?

  Author Han Dayuan Director of the "One Country, Two Systems" Law Institute of Renmin University of China, member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress

  July 1, 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.

At the historical point where "one country, two systems" has entered the mid-term stage of "fifty years unchanged" promised by the Basic Law, evaluating this unique institutional innovation in the history of human political civilization requires an objective, rational, and pragmatic attitude. The achievements we have made also need to be aware of the existing problems and challenges. More importantly, we must build social consensus, face the future, and create a better tomorrow for Hong Kong.

How to evaluate the achievements of the "one country, two systems" practice for 25 years?

  The achievements of "one country, two systems" from the great concept to the basic national policy and then to the national system are obvious to all, and there should be a consensus on this.

In the process of pursuing and defending the value of human civilization, the Communist Party of China has created "one country, two systems" without any precedent, making it a world-recognized achievement of human civilization. Its significance has surpassed China and is international.

  In the development of nation-states in the past three hundred years, "one country, one system" has been the norm and system for governing a country, even in a federal state.

In solving the Hong Kong and Macau issues left over from history, the problem China faces is whether to continue the normalized governance model of countries around the world and implement "one country, one system" with the will of the sovereign, or with extraordinary courage, courage and wisdom , bringing an unprecedented new governance model to the world?

On the premise of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, is it possible for two different systems to coexist peacefully within a sovereign country?

The practice of "one country, two systems" answers, turning the impossible into a possibility.

  As Deng Xiaoping emphasized, "socialism" and "capitalism" under "one country, two systems" "do not eat you, nor you eat me," and the harmonious coexistence of different systems within the framework of "one country" is both a special The prosperity and stability of the administrative region has laid the foundation, and it has also demonstrated the possibility of harmonious coexistence of different systems and the establishment of a peaceful order.

In June 2021, in Beijing, visitors watch the content display of "One Country, Two Systems" at the "'Don't Forget the Original Heart, Remember the Mission' Chinese Communist Party History Exhibition".

Photo by China News Agency reporter Tomita

  Safeguarding national sovereignty and maintaining Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability are the original aspiration and mission of "One Country, Two Systems".

Since the return of the motherland, despite the ups and downs Hong Kong has experienced, the central government has always adhered to the original aspiration of "one country, two systems" as determined by the Basic Law, made prosperity and stability the top priority, and prioritized the well-being of Hong Kong citizens.

The fundamental purpose of formulating and implementing the national security law for Hong Kong and improving the electoral system is to maintain Hong Kong's unique advantages and continue to maintain prosperity and stability.

In particular, in the past five years, due to the uncertain international order and the superimposed epidemic of the century, the global economy has been in a downturn. In terms of economic development, Hong Kong has generally maintained a stable development.

  Whether the practice of "one country, two systems" is successful or not, one of the indicators of the international community's evaluation is the development of the rule of law.

The rule of law is the core value and competitiveness of Hong Kong.

Facts have fully demonstrated that Hong Kong's rule of law index has been at the forefront of the world since its return to China 25 years ago.

Before the handover, Hong Kong's rule of law index was 69.85 points. After the handover, Hong Kong's rule of law index has remained above 90 points since 2003, ranking fifth in the East Asia and Pacific region.

  Under "One Country, Two Systems", different legal systems, different legal systems and different legal cultures coexist harmoniously, reflecting openness, integration and diversity, providing Chinese experience for the diversity of the world's legal civilizations and comparative legal systems, and becoming unique in comparative law. sample.

Hong Kong's diverse legal system builds a platform for the exchange of different legal cultures between "one country" and "two systems".

In particular, in the 25 years since the handover, judicial independence has not been weakened in Hong Kong. Instead, it has played an important role in safeguarding the rule of law and safeguarding the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong citizens in accordance with social expectations.

  When people observe the practical results of "one country, two systems" over the past 25 years, they will also pay attention to whether the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents have been weakened, especially whether the introduction of the Hong Kong National Security Law has restricted the rights and freedoms of residents stipulated in the Basic Law.

Whether the maintenance of national security and human rights protection, social order and the value of freedom can be effectively balanced has always been a concern in the practice of "one country, two systems".

In fact, since the drafting of the Basic Law, how to protect the rights and freedoms of residents through the Basic Law has been one of the most discussed issues between Hong Kong and Mainland members.

At that time, the mainland had just reformed and opened up, and the concept of rights and freedom was still being formed. However, there was a relatively high degree of consensus on the issue of rights and freedom raised by Hong Kong members, which gave the Basic Law a strong human rights element.

As stipulated in Article 4 of the Basic Law: The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall protect the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region residents and other persons in accordance with the law.

This is the basic principle that the Basic Law protects human rights.

At the same time, Chapter 3 of the Basic Law stipulates in detail the basic rights of residents, which not only include the basic rights stipulated in the Constitution, but also take into account the differences in social, economic and cultural backgrounds between Hong Kong and the Mainland.

At the same time, Article 39 of the Basic Law stipulates that relevant provisions applicable to Hong Kong such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights shall remain in force and shall be implemented through the laws of the Hong Kong SAR.

On June 30, 2020, Hong Kong citizens supported the promulgation and implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Wei

How to summarize 25 years of experience in the practice of "one country, two systems"?

  On the basis of fully affirming the practical achievements of "one country, two systems" over the past 25 years, it is necessary to earnestly summarize the basic experience and deeply explore the internal logic of the development of "one country, two systems".

In my opinion, the experience can be summed up from the following four aspects.

  First, the Communist Party of China is the founder and practitioner of "one country, two systems".

Since the return of Hong Kong, the "one country, two systems" cause under the leadership of the Communist Party of China has continued to advance in exploration.

To practice "one country, two systems", we must uphold and maintain the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

Article 1 of the Constitution clearly stipulates the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

To maintain the party's leadership is to maintain "one country, two systems" and to maintain the constitutional order of the SAR established by the constitution.

In this regard, the Hong Kong society should have a basic consensus and a correct understanding of the constitutional status of the Communist Party of China.

  The second is the principle of proceeding from the reality of Hong Kong.

Considering the history and reality of Hong Kong is the basic starting point for the establishment of the special administrative region system and the development of the "one country, two systems" cause.

The Preamble and Articles 45 and 68 of the Basic Law all stipulate the principle of gradual progress according to the actual situation of the Special Administrative Region.

Since the handover, the Chinese government's exploration of Hong Kong's democratic system has fully explained this.

  The third is to adhere to the rule of law in Hong Kong, and handle Hong Kong-related affairs with the rule of law thinking and method.

Governing the country in accordance with the constitution and governing in accordance with the constitution are the core essence of China's rule of law and the basic requirement for the rule of law in Hong Kong.

The rule of law is an important cornerstone of Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability.

To govern Hong Kong in accordance with the law, we must act strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law, and improve the systems and mechanisms related to the implementation of the Basic Law.

  Fourth, adhere to the fundamental purpose of maintaining Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability.

The practice of Hong Kong's return 25 years ago shows that the Basic Law, which embodies the principle of "one country, two systems", is feasible and a strong guarantee for Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

Maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of the Special Administrative Region is an obligation fulfilled by the state based on the Constitution and the Basic Law, which itself is the proper meaning of the national development goals.

On October 1, 2019, the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China was held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

The picture shows the "one country, two systems" phalanx in the mass demonstration.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Sheng Jiapeng

  How do you view the problems, challenges and future in the practice of "One Country, Two Systems"?

  "One country, two systems" is a national institutional system that is rooted in China, has a strong Chinese political and cultural heritage, and at the same time embodies the spirit of sovereignty, peace, tolerance and openness.

As a new thing, it is normal for "one country, two systems" to encounter new problems and challenges in practice, and it needs to keep pace with the times.

  The achievements of Hong Kong in the 25 years since its return are obvious to all, but at the same time, we must face up to the existing problems and challenges.

The main problems in the practice of "One Country, Two Systems" are: some Hong Kong citizens still lack a sense of gain for the dividends brought by the system, and their hearts have not fully returned; deep-seated problems such as housing, employment, and wealth gap in Hong Kong have not received structural support. To solve, the concept of social justice has not been fully transmitted to members of society, especially the vulnerable groups, through effective institutional channels; some Hong Kong citizens still lack national identity after 25 years of return to China; lacking a sound political culture, Hong Kong society is still keen on the so-called "establishment system". It is not conducive to creating a diverse and inclusive political and cultural atmosphere and building the most extensive unification under "One Country, Two Systems". battle lines, etc.

  In a word, "one country, two systems" is a new thing, unprecedented in history. It is normal to encounter new situations and new problems in practice, and it needs to keep pace with the times.

"One country, two systems" is not an expedient measure, but a national institutional system.

People have reason to believe that the practice of "one country, two systems" after 2047 will be more colorful.

(Finish)

About the Author:

  Han Dayuan is a professor at the Law School of Renmin University of China and a “Changjiang Scholar” Distinguished Professor of the Ministry of Education.

Director of the "One Country, Two Systems" Law Institute of Renmin University of China, and a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

He also serves as the honorary president of the China Constitutional Law Research Association, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Constitutional Association, and the executive vice president of the China Legal Education Research Association.

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