China media: White paper on Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an economic powerhouse in Asia Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hong Kong is an economic powerhouse in Asia

Media in China give full support to an official document reaffirming total control over Hong Kong, while papers in the special administrative region express pessimism over the future.

The Chinese central government released a white paper on Tuesday reiterating that the "one country, two systems" practice in Hong Kong was "a basic state policy".

The former British colony became a special administrative region of China in 1997, when Britain's 99-year lease of the New Territories, north of Hong Kong island, expired.

Hong Kong is governed under the principle of "one country, two systems", under which China has agreed to give the region a high degree of autonomy and to preserve its economic and social systems for 50 years from the date of the handover.

However, the white paper says the Beijing government has "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

"As a unitary state, China's central government has comprehensive jurisdiction over all local administrative regions, including the HKSAR," it adds.

Supporting the white paper, the People's Daily reminds that "patriotism to the country" should be important for Hong Kong's residents.

"Hong Kong can maintain prosperity and stability for a long time only when the policy of 'one-country, two systems' is fully understood and implemented," it says.

The Global Times' Chinese edition warns that the central government will not allow chaos in Hong Kong and it has "a lot of resources and leverage" to prevent such situation to take place.

"The oppositions in Hong Kong should understand and accept that Hong Kong is not an independent country. They should not think that they have the ability to turn Hong Kong into Ukraine or Thailand," it says.

'Turning point'

Meanwhile, media outlets in Hong Kong are less optimistic over the state of democracy and political freedom.

The South China Morning Post notes that the white paper was released about two weeks before pro-democracy Occupy Central activists hold an unofficial referendum on options for the Chief Executive election in 2017.

The organiser of Occupy Central, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, tells the daily that Beijing is "trying to scare Hong Kongers into silence".

The Ming Pao daily says that the "one-country two-system" concept has become an "empty shell" and Hong Kong is likely to turn into an "ordinary Chinese city".

"Hong Kong has arrived at a historical turning point once again, but this time we are unable to see any positive element in it. Negative points are too many to record. The situation is worrying," it says.

Elsewhere, papers support China's decision to distribute a document outlining its historical claims in the South China Sea region at the UN.

Wang Xiaopeng, maritime expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tells the Xinhua News agency that Vietnam had sent similar documents to the UN and China has only "reciprocated".   

"This is also to show countries such as the US, Japan and the Philippines that they have no opportunity to take advantage of the dispute between China and Vietnam," he says.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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