The visiting Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang has once again stood by the One Country, Two Systems principle and the Basic Law, warning that society must not abandon the policies or Hong Kong “will undoubtedly rot”.

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, met with some 200 people from different sectors of Hong Kong at the Central Government Offices on Thursday morning.

“Although there have been issues, time has proven that the Basic Law is right and viable, the One Country, Two Systems principle is right and viable,” Zhang said. “If the Basic Law and the One Country, Two Systems principle were abandoned, Hong Kong would undoubtedly rot.”

Zhang Dejiang
Zhang Dejiang addressing 200 attendees. Photo: GovHK

He told the attendees they must stand by the Basic Law and the One Country, Two Systems principle in the interests of 7.3 million Hong Kong people.

“The so-called self-determination, Hong Kong independence, those are not viable at all, I can judge that,” he said.

He said that Hong Kong is a diverse society, but the premise of diversified speech “must be for the good of Hong Kong”.

“We are on the same boat, we will all be well if Hong Kong is well, if Hong Kong is in chaos, we will all pay for it,” Zhang said.

Zhang Dejiang
Zhang Dejiang addresses a banquet held in his honour. Photo: GovHK.

At a banquet hosted by the government in his honour on Wednesday, Zhang said a small minority of people have been using the idea of localism to separate the country. He questioned whether such actions were violating the intention of the arrangement, which was to preserve Hong Kong’s original socio-economic system and lifestyle.

But he gave reassurances that the One Country, Two Systems principle will remain unchanged, despite issues, as it has strong popular support, is  common ground between the mainland and Hong Kong, and has worked well in practice.

Zhang Dejiang
Zhang Dejiang’s motorcade heading in the wrong direction when entering an elderly care facility. Photo: Facebook/Cheung Kwok Kuen

After the meeting, Zhang visited an elderly care facility in Tseung Kwan O and a newly-built public housing estate in Kwun Tong.

He was scheduled to leave for Beijing on Thursday afternoon.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.