China should stick to its “one country, two systems” policy and keep its promise by making Hong Kong an autonomous and democratic region, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday to mark the 21st anniversary of the territory’s transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China.
It has become increasingly difficult for Hong Kong to maintain its self-ruling democratic system, as China is interfering in the civil and political rights of Hong Kongers, including the right to assemble and the implementation of universal suffrage, the council said in a statement.
It also voiced concern over judicial independence in the territory, saying that Chinese authorities are constantly challenging the its judiciary.
People in Hong Kong face restraints on press freedom, as seen by the territory’s fall from 18th for press freedom in the world in 2002 to 70th this year, the council said, citing an annual poll by Reporters Without Borders.
Human rights are also worsening in the territory, with personal freedom deteriorating on an annual basis, as evidenced by last year’s Human Freedom Index, conducted by the Canadian-based Fraser Institute, which saw Hong Kong drop to 26th place from 19th the previous year.
As a result, over the past two years, more people in Hong Kong have lost confidence that the territory can maintain its “one country, two systems” formula under Beijing’s rule, the council said.
For the stable and prosperous development of Hong Kong, the government hopes Beijing will stick to its original promises and respond to the demands for democracy and rule of law from the territory’s residents, the council said.
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