China's warning to Hong Kong

By Laura He, MarketWatch
June 11, 2014

Tensions grow in Hong Kong as China asserts control. White paper has territory worried about its freedoms.

Seventeen years after the Chinese annexation of Hong Kong, concerns are growing in the former British colony about democratic rights and freedoms. The rising tensions come after the Beijing regime issued its first-ever white paper on Hong Kong, reiterating the Beijing regime¡¦s control over the territory and warning that ¡§external forces have been plotting to interfere in China¡¦s internal affairs using Hong Kong.¡¨

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region¡¦s puppet government issued a statement on Tuesday, welcoming the white paper and saying it was ¡§an important document¡¨ that every Hong Kong citizen should study to understand the constitutional ¡§one country, two systems¡¨ principal under which Hong Kong was placed following the 1997 handover from Britain.

However, Benny Tai, one of the organizers of the Occupy Central protest movement calling for more rights for Hong Kong citizens, said the white paper was issued to signal opposition to an unofficial June 22 ¡§civil referendum¡¨ to comment on Hong Kong¡¦s future elections, as well as the Occupy Central Movement¡¦s protests planned for July.

Hong Kong is currently run by a legislature selected from various constituencies via indirect elections, but it is slated to hold its first election under universal suffrage in 2017.

The June 22 vote is meant to select among various methods for carrying out the 2017 vote in an effort to guarantee its fairness, with some in the territory worrying the election would be manipulated by the Beijing regime.

A group of protesters took Hong Kong streets on Wednesday, saying that the white paper represented a step toward China breaking its promise of Hong Kong¡¦s self-governance. The protesters burned a white paper in front of the Liaison Office of China¡¦s central government in Hong Kong.

Alan Leong, an opposition lawmaker from Civic Party, said the Beijing regime was trying to threaten Hong Kong residents in an effort to dampen demands for a free vote.

The Beijing regime had promised Hong Kong people ¡§a high-degree autonomy¡¨ before the 1997 handover, but now ¡§they want to take back some of the freedoms,¡¨ Leong said.