HONG KONG, June 11 (UPI) -- A report by the Chinese government, asserting its control of Hong Kong, was criticized by residents who accuse Beijing of abandoning its promises of autonomy for the city.
Released Tuesday, the "white paper" spells out in detail Beijing's authority over Hong Kong. To some, it violates Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy" promised in 1984, when Britain returned it to Chinese control, and does not follow the political policy of "one country, two systems" allowing autonomy and democracy for Hong Kong.
Alan Leong Kah-kit, a Hong Kong legislator and leader of the democracy-promoting Civic Party, led a protest over the white paper at the city's liaison office of the Communist Party.
Leong said the report "redefines what a high degree of autonomy is, and even go so far as to suggest that our court should be manned by judges who have this political perspective to maintain the prosperity of not only Hong Kong but the country. Honestly, had the white paper been published in 1990, when the Basic Law was promulgated, I can bet you anything that Hong Kong would not have reverted to Chinese sovereignty as smoothly as we did."
The Hong Kong Bar Association also objected to the report's comments on the role of judges in Hong Kong, warning against using politics to choose judicial appointments.
Beijing has also been hinting only those loyal to the Communist Party will be considered for nomination to Hong Kong's chief executive position. The hints anger Occupy Central, a group planning a civil disobedience campaign, including the blocking of streets, if chief executive nominations are not chosen by democratic vote. A more radical group has announced it will occupy the Legislative Council if the chief executive nominations are restricted.
''Occupy Central could potentially cripple commerce in the Central Business District, impacting small local businesses and large multinational operations,'' its newspaper advertisements claim.
Political analyst Michael DeGolyer commented, "This is clearly a document meant to make a case internationally to lay out a legal basis for action by the central government ... this is clearly a document meant to make a case internationally to lay out a legal basis for action by the central government. Hong Kong has been read the riot act. It is very clearly laying the basis for action to Occupy Central, because the document says the central government has the right and the obligation to call out the People's Liberation Army if it thinks the nation is in peril."