‘Xi’s view on Hong Kong may differ from predecessors’

A political analyst says President Xi Jinping’s speech to mark the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party showed the leader has adopted a high level of vigilance in his foreign policies, and that his understanding of the One Country, Two Systems principle could differ from his predecessors.

During his hour-long speech on Thursday, Xi warned that foreign forces will “get their heads bashed” if they dare try to bully China.

Political analyst Johnny Lau told RTHK that the president wants China to take a leadership role on the international stage.

Lau said Xi’s mention of the military’s role in safeguarding peace was something that was not stressed by his predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, and this was the result of increased pressure on China from the West.

Lau also pointed out that the president may have a different understanding of the One Country, Two Systems principle governing Hong Kong and Macau.

The analyst said the protection of national security in relation to the two special administrative regions was little mentioned previously, and Xi was emphasising the central government’s comprehensive jurisdiction over the two cities.

Lau said he believes problems in Hong Kong have now become a complicated international matter in Beijing’s eyes, and this is why the president pointed to China’s sovereignty, safety and development interests.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, Tam Yiu-chung, said he found Xi’s message to be realistic.

Tam said that in the past, some people did not have an accurate interpretation of “One Country, Two Systems” and might have “deviated” when implementing the principle. He did not say who he had in mind.