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2007 Review – Hong Kong Remains in the Shadow of Communist China

2007 will be remembered as a year in which Hong Kong residents continued to live within the framework of a political system dominated by China.

For example, Hu Jintao, President of China, visited Hong Kong July 1, 2007, in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the takeover of Hong Kong, a former British colony.  However, Hong Kong authorities—at Beijing’s request—denied entry to Falun Gong practitioners to join the annual July 1st pro-democracy march.

Between June 24 and July 1, 2007, over 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners from Taiwan, Macao, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States were denied entry at the Hong Kong International Airport. Practitioners were bruised, dragged, and pushed. Many were wheeled away, wrapped up, and bundled in anti-riot blankets. It was reported that use of the restrooms was often denied while they were being detained at the Hong Kong International Airport.

These acts of deportation were done in reference to a blacklist of presumed Falun Gong practitioners or Falun Gong supporters that was compiled by the Chinese Communist regime. It circulated the list to the government of Hong Kong. According to an internal email from an Asian airliner prior to the massive deportations, Hong Kong immigration authorities were to provide a “blacklist” of Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners, who would either be refused entry to Hong Kong or not be allowed by the airline company to board the plane.

Another example occurred at the end of 2007. Hong Kong’s mini-constitution—known as the Basic Law—sets out full democracy as an eventual goal, but the timing for its achievement is ambiguously stated. While Hong Kong’s democracy champion, Anson Chan, a former top civil servant, won a by-election on December 2, 2007, in a fiercely contested race with a Beijing-backed candidate, Regina Ip, her call for full democracy in Hong Kong in 2012 was nixed by China on December 29, 2007.

In a decision adopted by the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People’s Congress at its Thirty-first Session on December 29, 2007, Beijing’s communist leaders made it clear that there will not be a direct popular election for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive until two more five-year chief-executive terms have been completed, i.e., until 2017, and all candidates will have to be approved by the Beijing communist leaders. Similarly, it will not be until 2020 at the earliest that Hong Kong’s citizens will have the right to elect directly all the members of Hong Kong’s legislature.

Hong Kong, the former British colony, was handed over to China on July 1, 1997, under the agreement of “one country, two systems” between China and the United Kingdom. At the moment, Hong Kong residents have no direct say in choosing their leader and they pick only some legislators. The tradition of the annual July 1 pro-democracy march began in 2003, when over 500,000 people took to the streets in Hong Kong, protesting the Chinese regime’s attempt to impose a set of national security laws in the autonomous region that Hong Kong residents believed would put in peril the civil rights protected by Hong Kong law.