Thu, Jul 01, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Hong Kong `no model for Taiwan'

DISAPPOINTMENT All that the past seven years in Hong Kong has shown Taiwanese is that China breaks its promises, a Cabinet spokesman said

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Hong Kong model of "one country, two systems" only shows how easily China reneges on its pledges and it would be impossible to transplant the model to Taiwan, the Cabinet said yesterday on the eve of the anniversary of Hong Kong's 1997 handover to China.

"Beijing's repeated breaking of its promises has only led Taiwanese people to believe that it doesn't mean what it says and that the model is unacceptable," Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said in a press release made available yesterday afternoon.

According to Chen, information gathered by the Mainland Affairs Council showed that under Chinese rule over 157 incidents have taken place impinging on the territory's freedom, human rights and rule of law as of this month.

One of the most noteworthy was a ruling by China's most powerful legislative body in April according to which Hong Kong citizens cannot democratically choose a successor to unpopular Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) in 2007.

Beijing also said Hong Kong will be allowed to directly elect only some, and not all, its lawmakers in 2008.

Another incident was last years attempt to pass anti-subversion legislation which brought 500,000 people onto the street in protest on July 1.

The Hong Kong government has proposed to enact Article 23 of the Basic Law, which would prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the People's Republic of China or theft of state secrets. It would also ban political organizations and groups in Hong Kong from having contact with similar groups abroad.

Beijing said that passage of the legislation is required under the agreement that saw Hong Kong return to Chinese rule under the "one country, two systems" formula.

On the economic front, Chen said that Hong Kong's GDP per capita in 1997 was recorded at US$26,762 but had dwindled to US$23,027 last year.

Its jobless rate also skyrocketed from 1997's 2.2 percent to 8.7 percent in July last year.

According to an opinion poll administered by the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (研考會) in 1997, about 76 percent of the Taiwanese people questioned said that they did not approve of Beijing's solving cross-strait problems with the Hong Kong model of "one country, two systems."

The percentage had risen to 80.8 percent by April this year.

The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday published a paper analyzing political development in Hong Kong since its handover in 1997.

China's actions have fueled Hong Kong people's doubts about whether Beijing will abide by the "one country, two systems" formula which promised to Hong Kong a "high degree" of autonomy.

"Only freedom and democracy in Hong Kong can promote the region's prosperity and economic development," the report said.

The council, in a statement, said that Hong Kong played an important role in keeping peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. "Our government will carefully observe democratic development in Hong Kong and expand our service for Taiwanese in Hong Kong," the statement said.

additional reporting by Melody Chen

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