President of the Legislative Council Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has asked the public to focus their attention on discussions over Hong Kong’s future after 2047.
Tsang said in an interview with AM730: “Discussing what will happen to Hong Kong after 2047 is not a far-fetched issue, given that there are only 30 years left.” He hoped that Hongkongers could seize the opportunity and examine how the territory could move on after 2047.
Tsang proposed that, similar to how the Basic Law was drafted, “a broadly representative consultative committee” that is recognised by the government could be set up in order to discuss the issue.
According to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s “previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years,” meaning that territory’s mini-constitution will only exist until 2047 based on the current arrangements.
However, Tsang recognised that the current political environment is nonconductive to the discussion.
“Deng Xiaoping said then: ‘After 50 years there would be even less need to change’. Looking at it now, the prospect [of Hong Kong] does not seem this way,” Tsang said.
“A portion of Hongkongers seem to be strongly resisting ‘one country, two systems’, or excluding the central government meddling of Hong Kong. The central government is doing what it can to prevent Hong Kong’s ‘one system’ from going out of control and are looking into how to strengthen the central government’s complete rule over Hong Kong.”
Tsang also noted that the Hong Kong public and members of the pro-Beijing camp consider the discussion meaningless at the moment. “Following the political reform debate that has greatly polarised society and caused a strong sense of antagonism between the pan-democrats and the central government, how is this the time to discuss 2047?”
However, Tsang said that views of some pro-Beijing scholars, who said Hongkongers are not patriotic enough and misunderstood the “One Country, Two Systems” principle are futile. “The more you criticise, the more [Hong Kong] people would turn against you. Hongkongers would not ‘reform themselves and become patriotic’ just because [Beijing] criticised them.”
Tsang has announced that he will not run as a legislator next year. He is currently organising a think tank focusing on the post-2047 issue.
Student leader Joshua Wong wrote in an op-ed on his vision for Hong Kong after 2047. He said that ultimate goal for Hong Kong is achieving “continued autonomy.” In order to accomplish the aim, he wrote that Hongkongers must first have the right to determine the city’s future.