In a front page commentary today, the Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper sent one of its strongest signals yet that the leadership is not prepared to acknowledge the demands of Hong Kong protesters, or to reach any sort of compromise. [Featured image by Studio Incendo under CC license.]
“On this question concerning national sovereignty, concerning the fate of Hong Kong,” says the editorial, “there is no middle ground, there is not the least bit of margin for compromise.”
The realization of the constant enriching and development of “one country, two systems” in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the preservation of Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability, is an integral part of the Chinese dream, and also a necessary condition of the refinement and development of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the promotion of the modernization of the national governance system and governing capacity.
At the 11th BRICS summit of leaders in Brazil, Chairman Xi Jinping gave a speech on recent developments in Hong Kong, pointing out that extreme violent criminal activities seriously challenge the bottom-line principles of “one country, two systems.” We will absolutely not tolerate any behavior that challenges the bottom-line principles of “one country, two systems,” and all criminal activities that openly challenge the bottom-line principles of “one country, two systems” must be resolutely punished according to the law.
For more than five months, under the misguided instigation of interference by the opposition faction (反对派) and interference from external forces, continued violent street activities have occurred in Hong Kong [Note: The “opposition faction” is how the CCP refers to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, the word pro-democracy being unsayable]. Certain [people] who even openly advocate “Hong Kong independence,” and shout “Liberate Hong Kong, the Revolution of Our Times,” wantonly dishonor the national flag, the national emblem and the regional [Hong Kong] emblem, surround and attacked the office of the Central Government in Hong Kong and the Legislative Council, the government headquarters, the goal being to sow chaos in Hong Kong and paralyze the SAR government, and in this way to capture the authority to govern in the SAR, turning Hong Kong into an independent or half-independent political entity — with the ultimate result that “one country, two systems” exists only in name.
Today, right before us, is a struggle (斗争) between the protection of “one country, two systems” and the destruction of “one country, two systems.” On this question concerning national sovereignty, concerning the fate of Hong Kong, there is no middle ground (中间地带), there is not the least bit of margin for compromise.
“One country, two systems” is an innovative undertaking, and for the Central Committee it is a major issue for the governance of the country. For Hong Kong and our brethren in Hong Kong, [“one country, two systems”] is an important historical turning point. The facts have shown that “one country, two systems” is the best plan for resolving the historical legacy of the Hong Kong question, and also the best system for preserving prosperity and stability following Hong Kong’s return . . . . At the same time, “one country, two systems” as a system innovation, must, like all new things, be constantly improved in light of practice and experience. This storm over the amendment has exposed deep contradictions and problems in Hong Kong’s politics, economy, society and other areas, and has further magnified the necessity and urgency of improving Hong Kong’s governance system.