Leung: opposition abused autonomy, sought secession

Top News | Staff reporter 13 Jul 2020

The pro-democracy camp is not advancing democracy, but attempting secession by trying to eliminate Beijing's role in Hong Kong, says former chief executive Leung Chun-ying.

Leung, a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference vice chairman, said Hong Kong had been seen to be "abusing" its high degree of autonomy before Beijing imposed the security law and had allowed itself to be used as a base and recruitment center for subversion.

Speaking on a radio program yesterday, Leung said the powers vested in the Hong Kong's chief executive are much broader than other cities abroad and the broader powers come from the central government -- not solely from the Hong Kong electorate.

"Hong Kong is not a country. We are a city By appointing the elected candidate if it sees them fit, the central government confers onto the chief executive additional powers," Leung said.

"So it is the combination of the two mandates - one from the Hong Kong electorate and the other the Chinese central government - that gives the chief executive wide-ranging powers and Hong Kong the high degree of autonomy."

The chief executive is selected by an Election Committee of 1,200 members.

"The pan-democrats want to remove the central government from this equation and maintain the powers of the chief executive," he said. "This is not democracy. It is secession by any definition."

Leung also refuted claims that one country, two systems in Hong Kong is dead after the security law was enacted.

"One country, two systems is alive and well. So are the freedoms that Hong Kong people enjoy. Those who claim we are losing our freedoms would not swap their residency in Hong Kong for any city in the mainland - or, for that matter, any other city in Asia," Leung said.

"On the question of safeguarding national security, if not for the one country, two systems principle, the central government would have simply extended to Hong Kong the coverage of the national security laws that have been in force in the mainland."

Leung said the security law is in "strict accordance" with the Basic Law and has not breached the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.

"So far, no one in Hong Kong or elsewhere has alleged that the enactment or the substance of the national security law breached the Basic Lawthere can be no breach of the joint declaration because there is no breach of the Basic Law," he said.

Leung said there are growing threats to national security in the absence of such laws in recent years, especially to the integrity of Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong.

"Both the Chinese government and the people in the mainland are rattled. Hong Kong as a whole was seen as abusing its high degree of autonomy and allowing itself to be used as a base and recruitment center of subversion," Leung said.

"The opposition ironically has been as rowdy and Apple Daily as anti-China as before, despite their claims of being targeted" and these prove life is normal after the law's implementation, he said.

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