ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS (OCTS) MODEL OF CHINA
This article is authored by Gayatri Sharma a 3rd year student at GGSIPU
The year of 1999 embarked a remarkable yet controversial arrangement in the history of China by instituting the principle of ‘One Country Two Systems’ which explains the governance of Honk Kong and Macau, by which the city would prolong to preserve the impeccable tasks required for the conduct of political, socio-economic and other legal matters under a unified China for a time span of at least 50 years without change. But little did they know that the sudden reforms would extensively change the game all over.
The pro Democracy phase in Hong Kong has always been indicated as a cover up to a higher political agenda enshrined by the ruling party in China and recently, this indication has turned into a fact. It has come under verity that all the autonomy should remain with the dominant country itself after the evasion of the city’s National Security Laws. The reformed laws also introduce a modification in the legislature which deals with secession, sedition, terrorism and many other arrangements containing the ability to destroy the peace and harmony of the society. As a result, all these newly adopted notions led to an intense protest in the city of Hong Kong.
This step has busted a motion of fear, outrage and agony towards the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s legislative federation but, ‘National Security is the bedrock underpinning a country’s stability; safeguarding National Security serves the fundamental interest of all Chinese people, including our Hong Kong compatriots’, according to Zhan Yesui (spokesman of NPC). On the other hand, a pro democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok has stated that, “This is the end of Hong Kong. This is the end of One Country, Two Systems. Make no mistake about it.”
Salient Features of the Law
The reason for the misery and distress of the citizens of Hong Kong is that the reformed legislative laws for a pro democratic system have been made corruptive and have violated the people’s freedom of speech and expression, which is the core competency in a democratic society. Moreover, the laws that Beijing had promised to uphold for at least 50 years were shredded to pieces for not even a justifiable reason but to achieve the major political agenda of supremacy at international levels.
‘One Country, Two Systems’ was meant to be a political model defining the judicial, legislative and executive autonomy of the people of Hong Kong. Although, it has not even been 50 years, the legislative laws have already diverted to a most noticeable feature which is entailed under Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law which depends on the discretion of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region who can prohibit laws on its own in accordance with treason, sedition, secession, extradition, theft to state secrets and subversion against the Chinese Government.
Article 23 of the Basic Law (BL 23) states:
“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.”
The local Government’s malfunction is also at fault for the release of these laws within the conduct of the city. Because of these laws, the country has achieved the control of supremacy and autonomous disposition and, technically, has the license to be as violent towards Hong Kong as it can be without facing any consequences.
Origin (how/ why was the law introduced?)
While being a component of People’s Republic of China, the Special Administrative Regions i.e., Hong Kong and Macau were set to constitute and direct their respective and individual political and economic affairs. This was termed as the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy of China and was induced at its initial stage by the paramount leader of People’s Republic of China. This policy was aimed at unifying China and Taiwan which was overpowered by the Communist Party in 1949. Under Deng’s agenda, it was concluded that he wanted to supply Taiwan with a separate administrative system, keep its army and continue its Capitalist Economic System under Chinese Sovereignty.
Even though Taiwan was expatriated by the Nationalist Government of China, the country refused to accept Deng’s policy and rejected the Communist Party’s proposal. Since then, China has never reverted from its entitlement and claim on Taiwan, although both the Beijing and Taiwan have remained different entities till date.
OCTS Model of China
The OCTS Model of China states the autonomous nature of the cities of Hong Kong, Macau and earlier, Taiwan as well. It was particularly meant to fulfill the autonomous nature of the demarcated entity by not interfering through legislative measures under the country’s dominion.
The Model of OCTS is a remarkable policy which might have had the chance to be remembered as an impeccable political scheme in history, but its workings have only created demerits in the society and disrupted peace.
New Honk Kong Law v. OCTS Model of China
As stated above, the OCTS Model of China could have actually benefited the workings of the country but the accomplishment of political agenda always came in the way of pursuing something worthy and virtuous. The new reforms in Hong Kong’s legislature have been believed to enshrine a new way of political advancement, which is believed to be true only by the members of NPC.
The core competency to give a separate nature to the cities has been destroyed by leaving all the autonomy to the dominion. This was the sole reason behind the protests, which were peaceful at first, but later turned into painstaking and harsh behavior from the pro democratic society of Hong Kong.
The continuous agitation from the authorities of Beijing, whether by way of debarring legislators for being critical of Beijing (2016-2017) or by outlawing the local parties like Hong Kong Nationalist Party for disapproving the working of Beijing’s Government (2018), was indeed the reason behind the transition of protests from peaceful to peace-taking; from good to bad and eventually, ugly.
The previous year, when the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam projected to banish the Bill which proposed to exile the citizens of Hong Kong to places where the Government of the city did not have extradition agreements, critics pointed out that it would permit the city’s Government to further expel Beijing critics to mainland China where the Judiciary was only submissive to the Communist Party.
Probable Way Forward
OCTS is a model which, with the new reforms, has become fundamentally infective and defective, which was not the original circumstance. Henceforth, the only interpretation which can be taken forward and which can result in a better way of managing the society, is to revive the system in its original form. The enactment of Article 23, which is a provision meant to out rule public speech, dissent, assemblies and political activists putting China’s National Security under jeopardy, will have the power to create more intensified protests, even after a long span of time.
Hence, to conclude on a positive note, it may also be noticed that between 1997 and 2008, the Chinese economy’s growth rates, increment in mutual benefits, Hong Kong’s Adult Suffrage Initiative and economic activities have contributed to China’s success at not just a National but also at an International stature. As a matter of fact, Hong Kong’s public was considered pro Chinese sentimental during the Summer Olympics of 2008, Space Travels and even when the political crisis of Article 23 took over, initially, Hong Kong directed their queries and anger towards the local administration. All these factors if committed and infused in the current scenario, can lead to a society where the public is not outraged from banning its outrageous behavior towards unjust and unfair practices.