Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has warned that a small minority of people advocating for independence could force the whole city to face severe political and economical consequences.
“If we look at it from a legal standpoint, the person who breaks the law bears the responsibility himself, but from a political and economic perspective, those encouraging independence or self-determination are [making] the seven million people in Hong Kong face the political and economic consequences with him,” Leung said. He was speaking to reporters ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday.
Leung said that Hong Kong would lose the trust of the Central Government, and subsequently its support, because “no central government would support a city that is [going for] independence.”
“Economically, Hong Kong independence would become a major unfavourable condition and Hong Kong would lose the confidence of investors. Hongkongers would then lose opportunities for development and employment,” Leung continued. He said that the whole of Hong Kong would have to pay the price for the actions of the minority.
Leung did not respond to a reporter’s question as to what laws would be violated by advocating for independence and merely said that the Secretary for Justice had already explained the matter. He also said that just because certain discussions or activities were legal did not mean that one could completely disregard the interests of society and do as one pleased.
Leung then raised the issue of anti-mainland tourist behaviour in Hong Kong and said it was an example of activities targeting mainlanders that society must address, along with the discussion and promotion of independence.
“Mainland residents are very concerned with the unification of the country and the handover of Hong Kong, and those advocating independence and self-determination seriously affect the desire of mainlanders to come to Hong Kong to travel. This would then affect Hong Kong, especially the employment opportunities of those at the grassroots level,” he said.
“As the Chief Executive of the SAR, I have a need to point out the importance of defending the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is clear under Article 1 of the Basic Law. Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. We’re all responsible for defending the Basic Law, and especially Article 1,” Leung said.