Beijing’s new top official in Hong Kong has said there is “zero room for Hong Kong independence.”

Wang Zhimin said he had been asked about Hong Kong independence that when he was working in Beijing, and he responded at the time: “[It is a] serious violation of the law, absolutely impossible.”

Wang became the new director of the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong last week, after serving as the top Chinese official in Macau.

Carrie Lam and Wang Zhimin. Photo: GovHK.

He said Hong Kong independence violates the first article of the Basic Law, which states Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China.

“Thus, it violates the nine chapters and 160 articles of the Basic Law – isn’t this a serious violation of the law?” he said after a Chinese national day celebration event on Friday.

“Across all of China’s 9.6 million square kilometres of land, around the whole globe, the whole world – there is zero room for Hong Kong independence. There is zero tolerance among all Chinese nationals including the seven-odd million Hong Kong compatriots,” he said.

Wang’s speech was in line with those by his predecessor Zhang Xiaoming, who moved to Beijing to head the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office.

Wang Zhimin and Zhang Xiaoming. Photo: Liaison Office in Hong Kong.

Wang said Beijing’s policies towards Hong Kong have never changed, regardless of who is in charge of the Liaison Office.

He said the central government has stressed the implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, the full and faithful implementation of “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong,” a high degree of autonomy, acting strictly according to the constitution and the Basic Law.

He cited Chinese President Xi Jinping as saying that the “One Country, Two Systems” principle will not be shaken and will not change.

Wang praised Chief Executive Carrie Lam for leading the new administration to a good start. He said Hong Kong has a better understanding of “One Country, Two Systems” following some incidents in recent years.

Xi Jinping in Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

He urged Hong Kong to have more calmness and more firmness.

Wang also said it is the Liaison Office’s job to reach all sectors of society, including the pan-democrats.

Wang, who’s fluent in Cantonese, wished Hong Kong people a happy national day and mid-Autumn festival holiday.

Kris Cheng

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.