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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Opinion: China has “crossed the Rubicon”

  • May 29, 2020
  • , Yomiuri , p. 9
  • JMH Translation

Interviewed by Rie Tagawa, China General Bureau

 

[Keio University Professor Tomoki Kamo made the following remarks during an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun.]

 

The government led by Xi Jinping mapped out a plan last October to introduce national security legislation in Hong Kong and had been making preparations since then. This shows that the government is determined not to compromise on national security and other “core interests” even if it has to face off with the U.S. and other countries. China may also be confident that the international community would not ignore China amid a cooling global economy because of its massive market. China enacted the legislation while being fully aware that it would face a backlash from the international community.

 

In the “one country, two systems” principle (applied to Hong Kong), China has been putting more emphasis on “one country” than “two systems” since the launch of the Xi government. The latest introduction of national security legislation indicates that China is accelerating this shift in focus.

 

What is important about the legislation is that it includes the establishment of outposts in Hong Kong, which are intended for the Chinese government to maintain national security. This will significantly undermine the independence of the judiciary there. The Hong Kong society (for which a high level of autonomy had been guaranteed) may be feeling that Beijing has “crossed the Rubicon.”

 

But the Chinese government probably has no intention to relinquish Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center because there is no other city in mainland China that can replace it. The Chinese government will carefully consider the contents of the legislation in light of the responses from the international community.

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