Support widespread for HKSAR reforms

2021-04-02 12:03:00

Citizens display China's national flag in support of implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" at Tamar Park in Hong Kong, March 6, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua] Scholars and experts worldwide back improvements to the electoral system The amendment of Hong Kong's electoral system has come at the right time and will anchor the stability and prosperity of the city, according to scholars and experts from around the world. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt the amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The first of the two annexes concerns the method of selecting the HKSAR chief executive, and the second is about the formation and voting procedures of the Hong Kong's Legislative Council. The amendments' approval was a step in the right direction of affirming the Hong Kong SAR as an inalienable territory of China, and at the same time ensured the principle of "one country, two systems", said Gerald Mbanda, a researcher and publisher on China-Africa cooperation. The vote allows comprehensive political and electoral reforms that enable better governance of Hong Kong while filling gaps that were exploited by some foreign interests, he added. "Since 1997, when Hong Kong was returned from being a British colony to where it naturally belonged, anti-China and separatist elements backed by foreign countries found their way into the governing structure of the SAR, disrupting peace and order," Mbanda said. "Incidents like the violent demonstrations that followed the 'extradition law amendment bill' will in the future be avoided, thanks to amendment of the law." Adhere Cavince, an international relations scholar from Kenya, said it is only natural to expect that the HKSAR, as a part of China, is governed in a manner consistent with the aspirations, laws and values of China. Hong Kong has its unique history, Cavince said, but the overall responsibility for its safety, stability and prosperity clearly rests with China's central government and the city's government. Cornerstone of progress "Political leadership is the cornerstone of a country's wellness and progress, and therefore should only be vested in those who hold the strategic interests of a country at heart," Cavince said. "This is a universally appreciated fact." He also said the strict observance of "one country, two systems" is the only rational path to Hong Kong's future, stressing that SAR residents must acknowledge that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. David Castrillon, research professor at the School of International Relations at Externado University of Colombia, said the recent improvements to Hong Kong's electoral system are "the surest guarantee of stability and development for the SAR". In recent years, Castrillon said, electoral deficiencies have permitted divisive elements to sow disorder from within local government structures, resulting in tragic scenes of violence and economic disruption across the SAR. "With the amendments to the Basic Law's annexes, the principle of 'one country, two systems' is fully preserved, allowing Hong Kong patriots to govern themselves, while upholding the fact that Hong Kong is an integral part of China." Boonyong Yongcharoenrat, vice-president of the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said measures adopted by China's top legislature are suitable for the current situation in Hong Kong and protective for the legitimate rights of Hong Kong residents. The legislative changes, he said, are of great importance to Hong Kong's lasting prosperity and stability, and to China's national sovereignty, security and development interests. Juvenal Infante, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia, said the electoral reform is a democratic alternative, one that can be justified in a democracy, "to counter protests and unrest movements, which are way beyond the absurd and the negative". "Again, the changes respect the democratic process and are based on the fact that Hong Kong has always been a part of China, and will always continue to be, honoring history, ethnicity and traditions of that Chinese region." Sergio Held in Colombia and Xinhua contributed to this story.