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Chinese President Xi Jinping, on a historic visit to Hong Kong, confirms the importance of the principle of one country, two systems

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) at the swearing-in of John Lee, the new chief executive of the former British colony, Hong Kong, Friday July 1.

To welcome the ambassadors from mainland China, all the partitions of Kowloon West station, north of Hong Kong, were lined, Thursday, June 30, with predominantly red and gold posters, celebrating the 25e anniversary of the return of the former British colony to China. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was leaving mainland China for the first time since the start of the pandemic, assured residents that the true democracy had finally begun for them.

After reunification with the motherland, the people of Hong Kong became the masters of their own cityhe said. An assertion that is sure to make defenders of democracy wince, after three years of a takeover of the territory by the Chinese authorities, which has severely reduced civil liberties.

The Chinese number one left Friday, around noon, after having inspected the Chinese troops posted in Hong Kong and having inducted the 6e Hong Kong government, led by John Lee, a policeman by profession, who led the crackdown on protests in 2019. In his final speech, he expressed his commitment to the principle of one country, two systems, a system that has been tested over the years, many times and that there is no reason to change and that must be preserved in the long term. Words that confirm what many analysts and observers were already thinking: knowing that the deadline of 2047 will probably not or no longer mark the end of this principle summarizing the spirit of relations between Beijing and Hong Kong.

Read also: Article reserved our subscribers John Lee, former pro-Pkin policeman, will lead Hong Kong

And for good reason: the communist regime did not wait for the fifty-year period promised before the handover of 1997 to impose drastic changes on the former British colony. Xi Jinping also recalled the role played by Hong Kong in the development of Mother land and greeted its strength derives from its great freedom and its compatibility with international rules. In other words, Hong Kong must continue to assume its function as an international financial center. Developed by Deng Xiaoping, the one country, two systems concept was described as a stroke of genius by the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in the early 1980s, during negotiations between the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China for the handover of Hong Kong.

Virulent reconfiguration of institutions

The special administrative region is halfway through the fifty years in which Deng Xiaoping promised that nothing would change, neither the horse races nor the dances. But the specificity of Hong Kong went beyond entertainment. In three years, the territory has suffered a virulent reconfiguration of its institutions, on a unilateral Chinese decision. With the entry into force of the national security law, exactly two years ago, civil society was pure of all potentially critical or protesting forces (press, unions, NGOs, etc.). The new electoral code imposed in the spring of 2021 has purged the political scene of any pro-democracy opposition. Most of its most popular representatives are currently in prison. The Parliament (Legislative Council, LegCo) is now composed only of patriots loyal to Beijing.

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