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China warns of limits to Hong Kong's freedom in White Paper, as protests loom

Published on Jun 10, 2014 6:33 PM
 
Pro-democracy activists hold a rally to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square military crackdown, in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Hong Kong on June 4, 2014. China warned Hong Kong on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, that there were limits to its freedom and it should adhere strictly to the law ahead of a planned pro-democracy protest that could end up shutting down part of the financial hub's business district. -- PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China warned Hong Kong on Tuesday that there were limits to its freedom and it should adhere strictly to the law ahead of a planned pro-democracy protest that could end up shutting down part of the financial hub's business district.

As the most liberal city on Chinese soil, the former British colony has grappled with Beijing since its return to Chinese rule in 1997 to preserve its freedoms and capitalist way of life under a "one-country, two-systems" formula.

Over the past year, however, a push by democracy activists to hold protests, as part of a campaign for the right to choose candidates for a poll in 2017 to elect Hong Kong's next leader, has stoked friction and unnerved Beijing leaders fearful of an opposition democrat taking the city's highest office.

China's State Council, or Cabinet, reiterated in a "white paper" on the "one-country, two-systems" formula that the city, despite its wide-ranging autonomy, comes under the control of China and has limits to its freedom. "The high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong is not full autonomy, nor a decentralised power. It is the power to run local affairs as authorised by the central leadership," the Cabinet said in the official report. "There is no such thing called 'residual power'."

 
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