Full Text: The Practice of the "One Country, Two Systems" Policy in the HKSAR

Updated: 2014-06-10 15:55


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During his meeting with the visiting British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on September 24, 1982, Deng Xiaoping made clear the Chinese government's position on the question of Hong Kong, pointing out that sovereignty was not a matter for discussion and that China would take back Hong Kong in 1997. It was under this premise that China and Britain would negotiate to ensure the smooth transfer of Hong Kong and clarify what was to be done about Hong Kong 15 years later. This marked the beginning of the negotiations between China and Britain on the question of Hong Kong. On December 19, 1984, after 22 rounds of negotiations, the governments of China and Britain signed the Joint Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the Question of Hong Kong in Beijing, confirming that the government of the PRC would resume its exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong with effect from July 1, 1997. The Chinese government also made clear in the Joint Declaration its basic policies regarding Hong Kong based on the "12 Principles." The signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration marked the entry of Hong Kong into a 13-year transition period before its return to China. During this period, the Chinese government unswervingly followed the "one country, two systems" policy, closely relied on the Hong Kong compatriots, and resolutely held off interference to promote the preparation work for Hong Kong's return.

On April 10, 1985, the Third Session of the Sixth NPC decided to form the Drafting Committee for the Basic Law of the HKSAR of the PRC. In July, the Drafting Committee began its work. It completed its mission in February 1990, taking four years and eight months to develop the Basic Law of Hong Kong. The drafting of the Basic Law of Hong Kong was highly democratic and open, and the compatriots of Hong Kong were widely involved. Twenty-three of the 59 members of the Drafting Committee came from various walks of life in Hong Kong, and the Drafting Committee entrusted its Hong Kong members to set up a 180-member counseling committee in Hong Kong to collect the views and opinions of the people of Hong Kong. In April 1988, the Drafting Committee published the Basic Law of Hong Kong (draft) for comments, and in February 1989 the Standing Committee of the NPC made public the Basic Law of the HKSAR (draft) and twice widely solicited views in Hong Kong and on the mainland. People from all walks of life in Hong Kong and the mainland took active part in the deliberation and discussion of the draft, and in Hong Kong alone nearly 80,000 files of views and comments were collected. The Basic Law of Hong Kong embodies the common will of all Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, and encapsulates the wisdom of the Chinese nation.

On April 4, 1990, the Third Session of the Seventh NPC passed the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, and made the decision to establish the HKSAR. The Basic Law of the HKSAR is a basic law formulated in accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. It stipulates the system and policies to be instituted in the HKSAR, and is the legalization and institutionalization of the "one country, two systems" policy. It also provides a legal basis for the implementation of "one country, two systems" in the HKSAR. The Basic Law was lauded by Deng Xiaoping as a "law of historic and international significance" and "a creative masterpiece."

Following the promulgation of the Basic Law, the Chinese government began preparation work for the establishment of the HKSAR. In July 1993, the NPC Standing Committee authorized the formation of the Preliminary Working Commission of the Preparatory Committee of the HKSAR (the Preliminary Working Commission). In January 1996, the Preparatory Committee of the HKSAR of the NPC (the Preparatory Committee) was established. Both the commission and the committee did a great deal of work for the smooth transition and transfer of government in Hong Kong.

On July 1, 1997, the Chinese government resumed its exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. At the same time, the HKSAR was established and the Basic Law came into effect. Hong Kong entered a new epoch characterized by "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy. As members of the big Chinese family, the people of Hong Kong and the people of the mainland share the pride and glory of the great mother country, and bear the common responsibility and mission of rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.