The acting commissioner of the Foreign Ministry’s office in Hong Kong has told representatives from foreign governments not to interfere in Beijing’s plan to overhaul the SAR’s electoral system. The office said on its website that Yang Yirui met with representatives of 59 consulates-general and the European Union Office to Hong Kong on Monday to brief them on the proposed changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system. The office quoted Yang as saying that “the loopholes in the electoral system of Hong Kong must be closed with the utmost urgency... or Hong Kong would be plunged into violent turbulence, its status as an international financial, shipping and trading centre under threat, and the interests of the international community here in peril”. Yang also told the meeting that it is a common practice for central governments to determine local electoral systems, and “a universal political principle” that the rulers of a place must meet rigorous standards of patriotism. Therefore, he said, it is in line with the Chinese constitution, the Basic Law and international norms for the National People’s Congress to decide on the SAR’s electoral system. He added that the changes will help bridge differences and build consensus, so resources will be used for the “top priority” of boosting the economy and improving people’s livelihoods, as well as strengthening Hong Kong’s role as an international financial, trading and shipping centre. “It will also help to dispel concerns among the international community about social unrest in Hong Kong, and provide international businesses with a more enabling environment featuring greater social tranquility, political stability and business predictability,” Yang said. The Chinese side hopes the consular corps in Hong Kong and the international community at large will abide by the principle of non-interference, a basic norm of international relations, he said. “China's policies and measures on Hong Kong issues have gained understanding and support among the majority of the international community. Facts speak louder than words, and justice will always prevail,” Yang added.
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