Beijing is becoming increasingly concerned about growing political resistance in Hong Kong and Macau, two of its special administrative regions, the head of a semi-official Chinese think tank said on Sunday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) address at the 15th anniversary celebrations of Macau’s handover from Portugal to China was a warning to the people of Hong Kong, Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies chairman Liu Zhaojia (劉兆佳) said.
Beijing is worried that Hong Kong could become a base for subversion, Liu said, citing Xi’s comments at the anniversary event.
“We must adhere to the ‘one China’ principle and also respect the difference between the two systems,” Xi said in his address.
“At no time should we focus only on one side and neglect the other,” he said. “This is the only way toward sound and steady progress.”
“Otherwise, a misguided approach from the beginning, just like putting the left foot into the right shoe, would take us nowhere,” Xi said.
Liu said Xi’s remarks reflected Beijing’s ire over Hong Kong’s bid to preserve the liberties that were allowed in the territory under a different system of government, and its “misguided disregard” for the “one China” policy.
Beijing is hoping that Hong Kong does not try to use its unique advantages to influence China’s socialist ideology, Liu said.
He said Beijing is likely to collaborate with conservative groups in Hong Kong and Macau to wield tighter control over the territories.
In light of its colonial history and desire for civil rights and freedom, Hong Kong is more averse to communism than Macau, Liu said.
As a result, the process of integration with the mainland will be more difficult in Hong Kong’s case, he said.
The desire for alternative systems of government must be decoupled from the adherence to the “one China” policy, he said.
Liu is a former member of a committee that represents Hong Kong in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.