Major Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) recently reported that Zhang Xiaoming, Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Office of the Chinese State Council, published an article discussing how to “improve” the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement. Zhang declared that the Mainland government has ten rights in Hong Kong. These include especially the right to appoint the Hong Kong Chief Executive and the principal officials of the Hong Kong Government, the supervisory right over the autonomy of the SAR, and the right to issue commands to the chief executive. The Hong Kong Basic Law does not spell out the details of these rights of the Mainland central government. Analysts expressed the belief that, given the current situation in Hong Kong, Beijing is prepared to be serious in the exercise of these rights. It is widely understood that the right to issue commands to the Chief Executive will be used more frequently in the future since such commands cannot be challenged in Hong Kong’s local courts and (exercising this right) is faster than taking a legal approach. This right has been invoked before to invalidate the eligibility of some elected lawmakers (all of whom have been considered anti-Mainland), but not very frequently. Zhang’s article also indicated that the right to appoint major HK officials will be exercised “substantively.” It appears Mainland interference in the Hong Kong political landscape will be intensified in the future.
Source: CNA, November 11, 2019