Tue, Jan 29, 2019 - Page 3 News List

China violating ‘two systems’: attorney

POLICY REVERSAL:A white paper that Beijing published in 2014 completely contradicts Deng Xiaoping’s vision and reveals China’s desire to ‘control everything,’ Martin Lee said

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Hong Kong Democratic Party founder and attorney Martin Lee discusses China’s “one country, two systems” model at a gathering hosted by the Friends of Hong Kong and Macau Association in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Hong Kong Democratic Party founder and attorney Martin Lee (李柱銘) yesterday in Taipei said that Beijing is deviating from the “one country, two systems” framework originally proposed by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) and China’s tight grip on the territory would only discourage Taiwanese from seeking unification.

“Since Beijing issued the 2014 white paper on Hong Kong, it has been implementing the ‘one country, two systems’ framework in a way that completely contradicted [Deng’s] original vision,” Lee told a Taipei news conference held by the Friends of Hong Kong and Macau Association.

Seeing the way the framework has been implemented in Hong Kong, “of course Taiwanese would be uninterested in it,” he added.

While Deng envisioned a system that would allow Hong Kong to remain highly autonomous, the white paper asserts that Beijing has “complete jurisdiction” over the territory, Lee said.

Beijing’s attempts to “control everything would not work,” as Hong Kongers deeply value democracy, the rule of law and freedom, he said.

He urged Beijing to step back from trying to maintain “complete jurisdiction” over the territory and to return to Deng’s vision of the “one country, two systems” framework.

“I completely support the ‘one country, two systems’ framework, which is in line with the agreement [between China and Britain] and the Basic Law. I just want Beijing to give us real elections,” Lee said.

By allowing democracy in Hong Kong, Beijing would be giving the framework a chance, he said.

“Currently, there is no democracy. Hong Kong’s chief executives always follow Beijing’s instructions. They do not have much of their own opinion and always side with the central government on major policies,” Lee said.

“If Hong Kong and Beijing have confidence in each other, the framework should work and Taiwanese would be more convinced that it could work for them too,” he said. “However, if Hong Kong and Beijing cannot trust each other, and the latter keeps a firm hand on the territory, it would be bad for cross-strait unification.”

Asked about his view on cross-strait relations, Lee said he believes bringing about unification under the “one country, two systems” framework would be “difficult,” because Taiwan has been holding its own elections for years.

Taiwan and Beijing should first engage in dialogue to build mutual trust, he said.

“Once there is mutual trust, you can discuss anything. Without it, it would be very difficult to solve Taiwan’s problem,” he said.

Working on building mutual trust with Hong Kong and allowing democracy would not only encourage Taiwanese to consider unification, but also show the world that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is not an authoritarian, Lee said.

“I really believe that, as a strong country, China should try and show the world — not just Taiwan or Hong Kong — that it is a reformer, not an authoritarian country,” he added.

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