China vs HK

China’s Communist leaders aren’t holding up their end of the “one country, two systems” deal on Hong Kong. A ruling by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress that Hong Kong cannot reform its political pro-cesses without Beijing’s approval violates the spirit, and probably the letter, of the admittedly vague Basic Law, which has provided the constitutional framework for Hong Kong since its return to China in 1997. The famously capitalist territory was guaranteed a great deal of autonomy for 50 years over its own affairs — with the exception of foreign and security policy. Although it’s true that the people of Hong Kong did not exactly live in a full-fledged democracy under British rule, the Basic Law envisioned the possibility of further democratisation, including the eventual direct election of Hong Kong’s leaders. But China is claiming that it has veto power over any such reforms, which would render the Basic Law’s provision for autonomy a sham. Such clumsy overreaching by China’s leaders is ultimately self-defeating. It imperils Hong Kong’s stature as a financial centre, which is partly predicated on the rule of law. It also serves to fuel the pro-democracy movement, which deserves the support of the outside world, especially UK, which pushed for Hong Kong’s autonomy before the handover. — International Herald Tribune