04/20/2020, 11.30
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong, Beijing pushes more and more towards 'one country, one system'

by Paul Wang

Chris Patten says "Beijing wants to throttle Hong Kong". Luo Huining, often referred to as "Xi Jinping’s man", wants to oust the opposition from parliament. Judges denounce pressure from Beijing, which wants to reserve power "for the single party". The Hong Kong government confusion, as it lines up behind Luo Huining.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - With the arrest of 15 democratic figures and with the claim that the Hong Kong-China Relations Office (Liaison Group) is not required to respect the autonomy of the territory, the widely acclaimed experiment expressed in the slogan "one country, two systems "has perhaps come to an end, according to leading public figures from the international community. They were reacting to the arrests that took place two days ago.

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, said that "day after day, ... we see that Beijing wants to throttle Hong Kong".

The arrests are only the latest move in a one-week time frame that has seen an escalation of power exerted by the Liaison Group, led by Luo Huining, often referred to as "a Xi Jinping man" (see photo).

The first sign of an escalation came on April 14 last: the Liaison Office, together with the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office launched a heavy attack on opposition MPs accused of carrying out "harmful obstructionism" in parliament. These are serious charges as they would open the way to dismissing the opposition from the Legco.

Also on the 14th, citing three Hong Kong judges who have chosen anonymity, the Reuters agency reports on Beijing's threats to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, with members of the Chinese Communist Party demanding that "the state by right must be a tool to preserve the one-party regime .” In light of this judges are being told not to absolve any demonstrators of the democratic movement arrested in recent months.

On April 15, Luo Huining pushed the Hong Kong government to adopt a national security law, as foreign forces "deeply interfered" in the city's affairs. It must be said that all the requests for democracy that the people of Hong Kong have expressed in recent years have always been seen by Beijing as manipulation by "foreign forces".

Carrie Lam, the head of the Hong Kong executive and several pro-Beijing parliamentarians immediately agreed, proposing a security law (art. 23) which in 2003 the population of Hong Kong refused.

On April 17, the Liaison Office stated that it was not subject to Article 22 of the Basic Law, which prohibits [Beijing's central government departments] from interfering in Hong Kong's internal affairs, because it - together with the 'Office for relations with Hong Kong and Macao – are defined as "offices" wanted by Beijing for Hong Kong and not "central government departments". This is why they have the right to observe and comment on the internal affairs of the territory.

On April 18, the Hong Kong government defended the two Offices, saying that they were in accordance with article 22. But later it issued a statement in which it changed its version and deleted any reference to article 22. The next day, yesterday, it released another statement parroting the version of the Liaison Office. But meanwhile, the local media have unearthed a 2007 document stating that the Liaison Office had been established under article 22.

Martin Lee, one of those arrested two days ago, made it clear that Beijing "is resorting to every trick" to delay full democracy in Hong Kong, as written in the Basic Law [the Hong Kong constitution, and in the Joint Declaration signed by Great Britain and China] and promised within 10 years from the return of the territory to the motherland.

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