Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has warned against pro-independence and separatist movements, citing Hongkongers’ obligation to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Hong Kong is an inalienable part of our country. There is absolutely no room for independence or any form of separation,” Leung said in the opening of his final Policy Address on Wednesday.
Leung twice said that “each and every Hong Kong citizen” is obliged to safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
Leung closed his speech with another warning: “As we benefit from the opportunities brought by the development of our country and the national policies in our favour, we must clearly recognise that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of our country.”
“This is both a legal fact and an internationally recognised political reality, leaving no room whatsoever for Hong Kong to become independent or separate from the Motherland in any manner.”
He said the high degree of autonomy that Hong Kong enjoys is not “absolute or arbitrary,” so that it is not allowed to “take any other form.”
Calling Hong Kong a “blessed land,” Leung urged Hongkongers to “waste no time” and “work with one heart and one vision” for a better future.
Leung has been nicknamed “father of Hong Kong’s independence movement” by various factions in the pro-democracy camp after he brought to public attention an article published in a university magazine that discussed the possibility of Hong Kong’s separation from China in his 2015 policy address.
Hong Kong journalist Oiwan Lam observed that Leung’s effort to create a political scarecrow out of the article fuelled antagonism concerning Beijing’s intervention in the city’s affairs, pushing localist groups towards radical politics.
A poll conducted by the Chinese University last July found that 17.4 per cent of 1,010 respondents said they were somewhat or even strongly supportive of Hong Kong independence when the One Country, Two Systems arrangement expires in 2047.