Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003
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By P. S. Suryanarayana
Mr. Hu told the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa, during their meeting in Beijing on Saturday, that China was "very concerned with the recent situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region''.
The ``recent situation'', a reference to the `protest' rallies in Hong Kong over the relevant bill, has now eased to some extent following the resignation of the territory's Secretary for Security, Regina Ip.
Mr. Hu conveyed China's `concern' even as he firmly backed Mr. Tung in his efforts to steer Hong Kong out of its phase of political disquiet that could yet snowball into a major crisis if not managed with sensitivity.
It was in this context that Mr. Hu spelt out, at considerable length, how China viewed the situation.
He said that "Hong Kong belongs to China and the people of Hong Kong''. Therefore, he affirmed that China was "strongly opposed to the attempt of any foreign forces and other forces from outside to interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong''.
While making it abundantly clear that there was no question of a slide-back by either China or Hong Kong from the principle that bound them, the formula of "one country, two systems'', Mr. Hu underlined that "only by maintaining social stability can Hong Kong preserve a sound business environment, keep its features as a free port and its status as an international financial, trade and shipping centre''.
He told Mr. Tung how important it was to "create favourable conditions for economic recovery and further development'' in Hong Kong.
On the political side of the equation between the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong as a special part of China, Mr. Hu reminded Mr. Tung that it was the territory's `responsibility' to enact a national security law.
However, it was also "a necessary part of implementing the Basic Law'', which spelt out the China-Hong Kong ties, that the special administrative region should "independently draft the law to safeguard national security and reunification''.
Mr. Hu's plain-speak on these lines is expected to guide Mr. Tung's governance of Hong Kong in the present delicate circumstances.
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