U.S. Consul General: Don’t become “just another Chinese city”

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The U.S. Consul General for Hong Kong and Macau, Kurt Tong, stands behind the ‘one country, two systems’ policy, observing that the citizens of the neighbouring SAR ‘continue to benefit’ from the arrangement. The statements came at a keynote address in Washington, D.C. at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. The Consul General opined that “Hong Kong is not in crisis,” however, noting that “issues surrounding the status of Hong Kong get less attention these days in Washington than other, more pressing matters”.
With regard to Hong Kong’s positioning within the region, he points out that “Hong Kong continues to be – sometimes quietly, sometimes more visibly – an essential element of the overall Asia Pacific region writ large, including by serving as a positive example to the rest of the Chinese-speaking world about how much can be achieved by an open and fair society, which cherishes both economic freedom and freedom of expression”.
The two SARs differ in their legal frameworks, in particular in relation to Article 23 of the Basic Law, which mandates the MSAR adopt national security laws, a measure that Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Zhang Dejiang praised Macau on during a visit in early May, cryptically saying the MSAR should conclude past experiences in order to nurture further successes.
The Consul General pointed out that, in the wake of a State Department document on recent developments, despite the ‘one country, two systems’ policy “generally working reasonably well”, it also points out that “certain recent actions and statements by the Chinese Central Government are inconsistent with China’s important commitment, as reflected in the Basic Law, to allow Hong Kong to exercise a high degree of autonomy.”
Consul General Tong further stated that “maintaining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, as enshrined in the Basic Law, is the lifeblood of the city,” opining that “Hong Kongers know better than anyone that becoming ‘just another Chinese city’ is a recipe for irrelevancy.”