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"One country" is premise and basis of "two systems"

PLA Daily 2004-02-23

BEIJING, Feb. 22, (Xinhuanet) -- The principle of "one country, two systems" should be understood in a correct and all around way and should not be deliberately misrepresented, said a signed article published by Xinhua News Agency here Sunday.

The two aspects of the principle must be integrated, said Xia Yong, writer of the article and director of the Law Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"One country" is to maintain the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of China, while "two systems" means that some regions may practice capitalism under the authorization of the central government while the main body of China practices socialism, the article said.

Without "one country", there would be no "two systems". If one only talks about "two systems" while neglecting "one country", the high degree of autonomy would be like water without source, the article said.

The principle of "one country, two systems" was originally put forward for the peaceful solution of the Taiwan issue. However, it was implemented first in Hong Kong. Facts have proved that it had served as the lifeline for the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong.

The return of Hong Kong to the embrace of the motherland is the premise and basis of the high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong and the governing of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people.

In the course of Sino-British negotiation on the Hong Kong issue, the perseverance of "one country" was the major premise. The implementation of the "two systems" takes into consideration Hong Kong's history and reality. It by no means indicates any concession on the question of state sovereignty, the article said.

Referring to the origin of power in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the article said, the state sovereignty is the premise and basis of local power. Local autonomy, no matter in general or in high degree of autonomy or under what system, is merely a pattern of power distribution within a sovereign state.

The Basic Law stipulates that the Hong Kong SAR is a local administrative region under the central government. Its high degree of autonomy stems from the authorization of the central government. Under this principle, the chief executive and major officials of the Hong Kong SAR should be appointed by the central government. Any revision on the method for electing the chief executive and legislative council must be approved by the central government, the article said.

On the composition of the state system, the articles said, the national system is the premise of the local system. The political, economic and legal systems of Hong Kong are part of the national system instead of independent ones out of the national system. The two systems mean two special systems under the whole national system.

From the prospective of the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, the article said, the prosperity and stability of the country is the premise and basis of the prosperity of a locality.

After China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, the social, economic and legal systems and the way of life in Hong Kong remain unchanged by and large. The Hong Kong SAR's status as a free port and an international trade and financial center is unaltered. Its autonomy is far from a state under the federal system.

For instance, the Hong Kong SAR enjoys the power of final adjudication. Hong Kong residents don't pay tax to the central government. The Hong Kong SAR has its own money and independent tariff systems.

All this is under the premise of "one country". A growing number of Hong Kong residents come to see that when their country is strong and prosperous, Hong Kong will be even better, the article said.

"We should bear in mind that "one country" is the premise and basis of the "two systems", the article concluded.

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