China News Service, Beijing, June 28 Question: 25 years after the return of Hong Kong, how to fully understand "one country, two systems"?

  Author Huang Ping Director of the Center for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Vice President of the National Association for Hong Kong and Macau Studies

  It has been 25 years since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, during which time the world has undergone tremendous changes, and the practice of "one country, two systems" has also advanced, adjusted and adjusted in twists and turns.

At this time, our understanding and understanding of Hong Kong and "one country, two systems" should be updated and improved, and we should embrace the new stage of "one country, two systems" with a broader mindset.

  Only by understanding China and the world can we understand Hong Kong more accurately.

  First of all, to understand Hong Kong, we should first understand the changes in China.

  It has been 25 years since China resumed its exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong.

If we put aside the 40 years of China's reform and opening up, the 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, and the 100 years since the founding of the Communist Party of China, and the profound social changes, institutional changes and all-round progress that have taken place in China, it is impossible to fully understand and accurately understand the present and future of Hong Kong .

When recognizing Hong Kong today and looking into its future, we must return to the development, change and progress of the country itself.

On June 22, 2022, Hong Kong citizens filmed "Flowers in the City" at Tamar Park in Admiralty to celebrate the handover flower arrangement.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Li Zhihua

  Secondly, to understand Hong Kong, we should also understand the changes in the world.

  Not only Hong Kong is a highly international city, but today's mainland China is also highly integrated into the world. How to understand the great changes in China and the world unseen in a century is a very important issue.

If you leave the ever-changing world, you will not be able to accurately understand the positioning, functions, values ​​and characteristics of Hong Kong.

Today, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered its second century. The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Hong Kong, as a bridge and a passageway, is also in the midst of the intersection of these two centuries.

Only by understanding these changes can we have an accurate and profound understanding of Hong Kong.

  Hong Kong's level of internationalization is still unmatched by mainland cities.

In addition, Hong Kong is also an important channel for China to continue and expand its opening to the outside world.

As long as China continues to open up to the outside world, Hong Kong's uniqueness will remain.

Central, Hong Kong with many financial institutions.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Wei

  Finally, to understand Hong Kong, we must also understand the time and space context in which it is located.

If we do not start with Hong Kong's own social structure, cultural characteristics, rapid changes and deep-seated contradictions, and if we do not clarify the causes, consequences, and context of these problems, we will not be able to understand Hong Kong well and manage Hong Kong well.

  Therefore, Hong Kong's prosperity, stability and good governance should be realized from multiple dimensions and at multiple levels.

First, Hong Kong should be understood from multiple perspectives.

From the national level, Hong Kong is a special administrative region under "one country", and planning and governance should proceed from the overall situation of the country and focus on the larger country.

At the social level, Hong Kong is a modern international metropolis and needs to be governed in accordance with modern urban management methods.

Economically, Hong Kong itself is a big market connecting China and foreign countries, and relevant planning should also fully reflect its characteristics.

At the cultural level, Hong Kong is the intersection of Chinese and Western cultures, Chinese and foreign cultures (including neighboring, ASEAN and other developing countries and regions), and cultural diversity is its characteristic.

At the political and legal level, Hong Kong is the "other system" of the "two systems" under "one country". It is neither the same as the mainland, nor different from before the handover.

Therefore, in addition to ensuring Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, it is also important to maintain its economic competitiveness, its role as a platform and bridge in the world, its cultural uniqueness, and its political and legal "one country, two systems" principle and innovation.

Hong Kong is a book that needs to be read carefully in a longer time and in a wider space.

  In addition, there are several points about "one country, two systems" that should be carefully understood again.

  First of all, "one country, two systems" should be fully understood and accurately implemented.

  "One country" is the main premise.

The 12 words "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy are not parallel, but progressive.

"One country, two systems", "one country" above, "two systems" below.

Since the return of Hong Kong, China has fully resumed the exercise of sovereignty and governance. From then on, Hong Kong should be governed under the premise of "one country", rather than involving all affairs in Hong Kong other than national defense and diplomacy , it's just a matter of "the system in Hong Kong".

In fact, in Hong Kong, everything that involves core interests such as national sovereignty, security, and development, as well as the country's basic system, the Constitution, the principles of the Basic Law, and the country's dignity are all in the category of "one country", and of course, the central government's commitment to Hong Kong is also included. Full governance is not bounded by the Shenzhen River.

  "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" is an important premise of "one country, two systems" (that is, the Chinese government must resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and thus implement the one-country principle) after "one country, two systems", and local affairs are governed by Hong Kong people themselves.

This statement first refers to Hong Kong no longer being "British ruling Hong Kong", which prevents some people in the UK from trying to "sovereign governance".

Mr. Deng Xiaoping once said: "We believe that Hong Kong people can manage Hong Kong well, and we cannot continue to allow foreigners to rule, otherwise Hong Kong people will never agree." "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" also means that the local Chinese in Hong Kong exercise the management of Hong Kong However, in addition to the major premise of "one country", Xiaoping also clearly pointed out that "there is a boundary and standard for Hong Kong people to govern Hong Kong, that is, Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body must govern Hong Kong."

In other words, even if the capitalist production and way of life of the "Hong Kong one system" under the "two systems" remain unchanged, those involved in governance must be Chinese who love the country and Hong Kong. This is a matter of principle.

Central, Hong Kong with many financial institutions.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Wei

  A high degree of autonomy comes after "one country, two systems" and "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong".

"High degree of autonomy" is not full autonomy, it is also a matter of principle.

Xiaoping once said that he did not agree with the formulation of "complete autonomy". Autonomy cannot be without limits, and if there are limits, it cannot be "complete".

The several major challenges that Hong Kong has experienced since its return, especially the biggest challenge to national sovereignty and "one country, two systems" initiated by the anti-China and chaotic Hong Kong forces in 2019 under the pretext of amending the law, fully demonstrate that a high degree of autonomy does not mean that a country is We cannot intervene at important moments or on major issues.

"We can't worry about intervention in general. Some interventions are necessary. It depends on whether these interventions are beneficial to the interests of Hong Kong people, to the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, or to harm the interests of Hong Kong people and damage the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong."

  Secondly, "fifty years unchanged" means that under the premise of one China, the main body of the country adheres to the socialist system, and Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in the future maintain the original capitalist system for a long time, rather than changing everything. .

  The "unchanged" here does not mean not developing, not progressing, not keeping pace with the times.

Continuing to implement capitalist production and way of life under the "one country" principle does not mean that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, and it does not mean that it is tacitly acquiescing to the outdated or even family-style, government-business collusion-style governance.

Even in old capitalist countries, such as Hong Kong, many people are accustomed to the United Kingdom. After 1945, they spent a lot of energy and financial resources to provide welfare and security through various social policies. .

Even compared with other East Asian economies, Hong Kong cannot stand still, especially in the areas of social distribution and social welfare, Hong Kong still needs a lot of improvement.

After 25 years of great practice of "one country, two systems", people should realize more clearly that Hong Kong must keep pace with the times, maintain some aspects, catch up in some aspects, maintain prosperity and stability, and open up integrity and innovation.

  At the same time, Hong Kong also has the same attributes as other administrative regions of the country. "Special Administrative Region" does not mean that everything can be exempted.

The so-called "special zone" is to recognize and give play to its particularity, including its potential and unique advantages, and also include the laws, rights, specific systems, etc. that "Hong Kong, one system" should have under the premise of "one country". constant.

However, there are also some systems that need to be constantly revised and improved with the development and changes.

For example, the formulation, promulgation, and implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law, the establishment of relevant institutions, and the specific implementation of the principle of patriots governing Hong Kong in the field of elections.

Real knowledge comes from practice. Without the practice of "one country, two systems" over the past 25 years, including the problems and challenges encountered in it, "one country, two systems" would not have developed, nor would it have achieved today's achievements.

On June 27, 2022, as the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland approached, the atmosphere of celebrating the return of Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui was strong.

The picture shows citizens photographing the national flag and regional flag on Park Lane Shopping Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Li Zhihua

  It can be said that China's great practice of "one country, two systems" is embarking on an unprecedented path of human institutional civilization.

The new conception and new practice of this kind of system are actually the continuation, promotion and innovation of the governance concept in the Chinese civilization for thousands of years, and it is the continuous enrichment and improvement of the concepts of "diversity and unity" and "harmony but difference". Zero-sum games and the law of the jungle.

We must not only realize these governance concepts within the scope of China's sovereignty, including Hong Kong and Macau (and Taiwan in the future) under the "one country, two systems" principle, but also theoretically summarize, refine, and elevate them into institutional construction and development with Chinese characteristics. an integral part of the theory.

  After 25 years of exploration and practice, people's understanding of "one country, two systems" is more comprehensive and accurate.

The second 25 years of Hong Kong's "one country, two systems" will not only be about prosperity and stability in the general sense, but will be about making new explorations and efforts in the course of the world's unprecedented changes in a century and China's great rejuvenation in its second century. Development, from the perspective of upholding integrity and innovation, re-understanding of Hong Kong and making Hong Kong start again.

To enable Hong Kong to maintain prosperity and stability, integrate into the overall situation of the country, and forge ahead with a new round of opening-up, and integrate the concepts of "diversity and unity" and "harmony without differences" of Chinese civilization, the concept of mutual learning between civilizations in various countries and regions in the world, and the construction of human beings. The concept of a community with a shared future is practiced at multiple levels of good governance and good governance in Hong Kong, and has made unique contributions.

In this regard, we must be full of confidence, but also know that there is still a lot of arduous and meticulous work to be achieved by all parties.

(Finish)

About the Author:

  Huang Ping, Ph.D. in Sociology (London School of Economics, UK, 1991), is currently a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a researcher of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a distinguished professor of the Chinese University of Social Sciences, and the executive vice president of the Hong Kong Institute of Chinese Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Director of the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and concurrently serves as the chairman of the China World Politics Research Association, the chairman of the Chinese Cultural Exchange and Promotion Association, and the vice chairman of the National Hong Kong and Macao Research Association.

His major books include Unfinished Narrative, Western Experience, Misdirection and Development, Our Times: Where Did Modern China Come From and Where It Goes (co-authored), Local Globalization, Dream Home Country: Society Change, Globalization, and China's Path, "Family and Country: China's Development Path and Global Governance", etc.

Editor-in-chief of "Rural China and Cultural Consciousness", "Re-signing with the Earth", "Reconstruction of Publicity" (Part 1 and 2), "China's Migrant Workers Against Poverty" (Chinese and English), "China and Globalization: Washington Consensus, or Beijing" consensus?

", CHINA REFLEXTED, etc., translated "Consequences of Modernity", "Adam Smith in Beijing" and so on. 

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