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China’s One Country Two Systems policy

  • Category
    India & world
  • Published
    3rd Sep, 2019

Protests in Hong Kong, now in its 13th consecutive week, have brought a decades-old policy of the People’s Republic of China back into focus — One Country Two Systems.

They want China to end its interference, while Beijing has likened the protesters to terrorists and have said that it won’t tolerate any challenge to its sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Context

Protests in Hong Kong, now in its 13th consecutive week, have brought a decades-old policy of the People’s Republic of China back into focus — One Country Two Systems.

They want China to end its interference, while Beijing has likened the protesters to terrorists and have said that it won’t tolerate any challenge to its sovereignty over Hong Kong.

History

  • The idea of two systems in one country resurfaced when Beijing started talks with Britain and Portugal, who were running Hong Kong and Macau, respectively.
  • The British had taken control of Hong Kong in 1842 after the First Opium War. In 1898, the British government and the Qing dynasty of China signed the Second Convention of Peking, which allowed the British to take control of the islands surrounding Hong Kong, known as New Territories, on lease for 99 years.
  • Similarly, on 1987, China and Portugal signed the Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau in which China made similar promises for the region of Macau after it was handed over to Beijing.

What triggered the current crisis?

  • In recent years, there has been a growing outcry from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy civil society against China’s alleged attempts to erode the city’s autonomy.
  • This has created tensions between the city’s youth and the local government, which is effectively chosen by Beijing.
  • In 2018, the Hong Kong National Party, a localist party that has been critical of Beijing, was outlawed.
  • Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, proposed the extradition Bill, which sought to extradite Hong Kongers to places with which the city doesn’t have extradition agreements. Critics said it would allow the city government to extradite Beijing critics to mainland China where the judicial system is subservient to the ruling Communist Party.
  • This triggered the protests, and they went on despite Ms. Lam’s decision to suspend the Bill.
  • The protesters, who often clashed with the police, now want the Bill to be formally withdrawn, Ms. Lam to resign, the arrested protesters to be released and the city’s electoral system to be reformed.
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