MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – Despite pan-democrat threats of protest in Hong Kong, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with a large business delegation in Beijing to reiterate the country's stance on the special administrative region, claiming Hong Kong and mainland China are intertwined under "one country, two systems," The Diplomat reported Tuesday.
"The 'one country, two systems' [policy] has been practiced more thoroughly each day and Hong Kong has maintained its prosperity and stability," the Chinese president was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Beijing's policy toward Hong Kong "has not changed and will not change," Xi insisted.
The president explained to the 70 leaders from Hong Kong's business and professional sectors that both China and Hong Kong benefitted from the guidance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), adding that the CCP and Hong Kong's basic law support "one country, two systems," The Diplomat reported.
However, the president refrained from using the phrase "high degree of autonomy" whenever mentioning Hong Kong, a phrase which is present in its basic law, according to the South China Morning Post. Instead, Jinping called Hong Kong a "local administrative region that comes directly under the central people's government."
The president also disregarded protest threats regarding new election rules drafted by the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress (NPC). However, a poll from the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Center for Communication and Public Opinion Survey revealed 54 percent of Hongkongers were against the restrictive election guidelines.
The debate ignited Monday when thousands of Hong Kong University students conducted a strike to show their opposition to the drafted rules. Protestors from Occupy Central are planning to organize large-scale protests and sit-ins in Hong Kong's main business district.
NPC, China's legislature, has drafted a set of rules for the first-ever direct election for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017. The election will include candidates approved by a committee designated by China, some 1,200 people who selected the current Chief Executive CY Leung. Pan-democrats claim the rules deny universal suffrage and the nomination of candidates through a popular vote. Cheng Yiu-tong, a Hong Kong NPC deputy, claimed there was little to no chance of amendments to the draft.