Hongkongers have marched against the extradition bill by the million – highlighting the depth of their distrust in the mainland judicial system and the central government. This mistrust, accumulated over the years, will not only directly affect how the Beijing and Hong Kong governments handle this situation, but also shape the administrative arrangement for Hong Kong that will eventually replace “one country, two systems”.

Solidarity With HK Bill

On the surface, the protests were aimed at the Hong Kong government, but in reality they also targeted Beijing.

Given Xi’s strongman politics and combativeness against political opponents, he would not like the idea of backing down after a couple of million-strong protests. This would not only undermine the authority of the central government, but also be taken as a personal affront. It’s possible that Xi will harden his attitude towards the protests after he meets Donald Trump at the G20 summit and China weathers the trade war.

Beijing has a deeper fear of democracy, and of the opposition seizing the momentum to pursue again an open chief executive election, so it would just tighten its grip on the election. Moreover, the Hong Kong economy will become increasingly dependent on the mainland, which is exactly what Beijing wants.

From this perspective, it is clear Beijing is effectively taking over Hong Kong. Two obvious examples are Hong Kong’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, and the plan for the Greater Bay Area. In Beijing’s vision, the plan will deepen integration and complete its unification.

One view is that Beijing has been interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs because it doesn’t know what Hongkongers want. Actually, it knows what they want, but can’t give them that. It also understands it has radicalised Hongkongers, especially young people. Beijing’s current strategy is to delay opening up the Legislative Council and chief executive elections for as long as possible. Actually, from Tung Chee-hwa to Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s leaders have been more and more obedient to Beijing.

Beijing has also declared in a white paper that “one country” is the precondition for “one country, two systems”. There has been greater emphasis on “one country” since Xi took power. In his view, China is strong now; Hong Kong should come under central governance rather than go its own way under “two systems”.

At this rate, might Beijing prematurely terminate “one country, two systems”? This is a matter of much concern in the outside world. When Deng Xiaoping proposed that Hong Kong’s way of life should remain unchanged for 50 years under the formula, his purpose, of course, was to recover Hong Kong

But he also probably believed that a developing China would move closer to Hong Kong over 50 years, so Hong Kong wouldn’t have to change. However, midway through the 50 years, there have been major changes on both sides. If Deng were alive, would he still feel the formula should remain unchanged? Obviously, Xi doesn’t.

Yet, Beijing should be aware that radicalisation and the rise of localism in Hong Kong are not problems that can be solved with economic integration. Some hardliners are already demanding the implementation of “one country, one system” in Hong Kong after the transition period. However, barring major upheaval, Beijing is more likely to keep the formal framework of “one country, two systems”, but gradually reduce the space for “two systems” such that it can legally intervene in Hong Kong’s affairs.

By Beijing’s logic, this will probably be Hong Kong’s fate. But need the city always be under Beijing’s thumb?

There is a possible way out: if people on the mainland advance their own demands for democracy, Beijing’s authority might decline.

Therefore, if Hongkongers want to take charge of their own destinies, they must support the struggle for democracy on the mainland. In this regard, people on both sides of the border have the same interests.


Deng Yuwen is an independent scholar and a researcher at the China Strategic Analysis Center Inc. This article was translated from Chinese


#RobertReview (Hong Kong one country, two systems): 10 | 10
Hong Kong’s million-strong protests are really directed at Beijing
Hong Kong wants “two systems”, President Xi Jinping’s Beijing wants “one country”.

An important and excellent insight by Deng Yuwen about Hong Kong’s unique “one country, two systems” formulated by Deng Xiaoping. His last comment that if Hongkongers want to take charge of their own destinies, they must support the struggle for democracy on the mainland.



To Beijing, Hong Kong’s extradition protests are sealing the city’s fate. Can ‘one country, two systems’ survive?


Published: 19th June 2019.
Updated: 11 August 2019.

Robert’s View:

Let me offer our readers a different perspective to the some of the comments I have received.

China and USA are illusions.

There’s a deep distrust for Hongkongers about China even when our ancestors come from China I.e. our “Heong Har” or ancestry villages.

Between the lesser of EVILS if forced to choose – most Chinese Hongkongers will reluctantly choose Democracy in UK or USA, rather than Communism in China.

Of the 3 colonialists, most people will agree that UK did more in different modern systems and infrastructure for Malaya than UK’s initial country looting.
Same with Hong Kong, many older Hongkongers yearn the “good old days of British rule in Hong Kong”. Hong Kong was a proud “crown jewel” among Commonwealth countries.

China will never make Hong Kong great again.

Under the “one country, two systems” Hong Kong will become a lesser and lesser Chinese City unlike the “Golden Age of Hong Kong” under Britain, many foreigners flock to Hong Kong for opportunities.

Rule of law, secular law vs. Communist Law, Sharia law, Democracy vs. Socialism – which one you prefer?

For 4,000 years the Chinese have always removed every one of the dozen or so Chinese Emperor Dynasties up until the Last Emperor Puyi. 

Eventually we the Chinese will remove the 98-year old one-party Communist Party of China (founded in 1921) and replace it with Democracy. 

Chinese will follow little brothers Hongkongers because Mainland Chinese want Hong Kong’s Democracy and Freedom. Hongkongers will be the catalysts for change in China – not USA, not Trump.

I predict President Xi Jinping rule will “The Peak of the Communist Party of China” with Xi’s One Road, One Belt world domination, and the despicable new “1984 Big Brother” Social Credit System.

But China’s history has shown that Chinese are restless people wanting change and freedom.

Yes, there were lots of problems with any colonial imperialist country including USA (e.g. conquering Hawaii).

Hongkongers were not so attracted by UK PR status – which was irrelevant. Majority preferred Commonwealth Canada and Australia.


China will not make Hong Kong great again. For 4,000 years the Chinese have always removed every Emperor Dynasty until Puyi. Hongkongers will be Catalysts for Change and Democracy in China, not USA.


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