January 19, 2023
HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s adherence to “one country, two systems” helped it achieve healthy economic growth last year. In 2023″one country, two systems” not only helps maintain the prosperity and stability of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, but also ensures the city continues to play its role as a global financial and logistics hub and a bridge connecting the Chinese mainland and the world.
Based on “one country, two systems”, the central government’s support for Hong Kong is in line with the rule of law and will promote economic growth in the SAR. As a result, the city will better integrate into the motherland’s development plan while engaging with the outside world.
First, Hong Kong now has a complete system of democracy and rule of law, and it is making progress in institutionalizing “patriots administer Hong Kong”. In the third year of its implementation, the National Security Law has gained the understanding and recognition of Hong Kong residents, a fact that was clearly reflected in media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s national security case.
Also, thanks to the interpretation of the National Security Law by the National People’s Congress, judges and counsels in Hong Kong, too, have a better understanding of the law and become better at putting it into practice. Upholding the rule of law, human rights and procedural justice, the National Security Law has become an important part of Hong Kong’s laws and legal system. Still, the Hong Kong SAR government should rigorously promote the judicial practice of the National Security Law.
The new electoral system that ensures patriots administer Hong Kong has also made progress. But the social division, political realignment, and voters’ perspective are still testing democracy in Hong Kong and the sense of responsibility of all local political parties.
Second, Hong Kong has taken measures to strengthen social justice and improve people’s livelihoods. The new SAR government is paying greater attention to the economy, because boosting the economy is necessary to ensure Hong Kong remains an international financial center, while improving people’s livelihoods will help plug the loopholes in social justice and resolve the deep-seated socioeconomic problems.
Sufficient improvement in people’s livelihoods can not only help achieve fairer wealth distribution in the SAR, but also safeguard the credibility of the SAR government, which will strengthen the rule of law and social stability.
The SAR government also has to effectively solve the housing problem for the poor, take measures to increase employment and create opportunities for youths to launch or expand their own business.
Third, Hong Kong should integrate its development policy with that of the Chinese mainland, because it will promote innovation in the SAR and help it proactively engage in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Also, according to the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the central government will continue to support the “four traditional centers” of Hong Kong — international financial center (including global offshore renminbi business center), international transportation center, international trade center, and center for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region. It will also provide more support for Hong Kong to enhance, establish and develop the “four emerging centers” for international aviation, innovation and technology, regional intellectual property trading, and arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.
Beijing will continue to support Hong Kong to remain globally important, and engage in and benefit from the national policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative. Under the “one country, two systems” principle, the city will continue to make new and unique contributions to the country’s high-level reform and opening-up and high-quality development.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and reopening of border crossings, Hong Kong can make better use of its advantages as a cosmopolitan city and promote dynamism. In fact, by providing legal services for dispute resolution in the Asia-Pacific region, the International Arbitration Centre in Hong Kong will boost the city’s international reputation.
Fourth, given the changing world order and increasing global conflicts, Hong Kong has no choice but to better integrate its development plan with that of the motherland to realize sustainable development.
Along with laws at the national and international levels, Hong Kong has to promulgate local laws against foreign interference, so as to improve the “one country, two systems” framework.
The central government has laid a solid foundation and provided policy support for Hong Kong to strengthen the rule of law. And the SAR government and society are working together to forge consensuses on democracy, the rule of law, and the city’s development strategy. All this will help Hong Kong gain a distinct edge in development and write a new chapter of “one country, two systems”.
The author is an associate professor at the School of Law, Beihang University.
The views don’t necessarily represent those of China Daily.