Some academics in China are even discussing the need to redefine “one country, two systems” and suggesting that the top brass should set up a new set of terms for the mainlandization of Hong Kong. The reason why Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” cannot be maintained is not only because of the CCP’s evil policy towards Hong Kong, but also because of the CCP’s promotion of “one country, two systems” in the Mainland, that is, the change to capitalism. Once the Mainland is converted to capitalism, Hong Kong’s economic advantage will be gradually weakened, while the economic strength of the CCP can be expected. In the short term, Hong Kong will benefit a lot economically from it; in the long term, the CCP’s change to capitalism will not be a blessing for Hong Kong, but a curse for Hong Kong. Once China’s economic strength increases, its willingness to accommodate Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” will become increasingly diluted, and the “under the sky, nothing is king’s land” plan will be exhausted, and the dagger will be present.
In Hong Kong, the weakness of the Chinese Communist Party lies in the Communist Party system practiced in the Mainland. Politically, the Communist Party will never loosen its autocracy, but economically, it has always insisted on public ownership and planned economy. This Soviet model was destined to make the CCP’s economy weak. When Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, the people of Hong Kong focused on the new system in Hong Kong; and the Communist economic model in the Mainland came to an end at this time, as state-owned enterprises suffered serious losses across the board, leaving state-owned banks heavily indebted and the financial system in danger of collapse.
The rise of the economy changed the relationship between Hong Kong and China
The implementation of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong and the change to capitalism by the Chinese Communist Party are superficially unrelated, but the inherent implications are worth sorting out. China’s huge system of state-owned enterprises has been privatized in just a few years since 1997, and the vast majority of these enterprises have never gone into the hands of Hong Kong, Taiwanese or foreign investors. The mystery is that the CCP tacitly allowed millions of cadres of state-owned enterprises and local governments to depress the value of their assets and fire tens of millions of employees, so that these cadres could use public funds to buy the enterprises under their control, thus creating a large number of communist capitalists overnight.
After the formation of this private system of communist capitalist-run enterprises, the Communist Party abolished the planned economic system, which controlled the economy from top to bottom, and switched to a market economy. In this way, the CCP’s economic system was quietly transformed into a capitalist economic system within a few years after the recovery of Hong Kong. Private ownership plus a market economy energized the Chinese economy, and as a result, China qualified for WTO membership, Western foreign companies entered in force, and the Mainland enjoyed a period of economic prosperity.
While capitalism in the Mainland is superficially similar to Hong Kong’s naturally self-generated capitalism, the biggest difference is the financial resources and status of the capitalists. Many Hong Kong entrepreneurs and their forefathers fled to Hong Kong at the time of the Communist Party on the mainland, and it was through full communism that the Communist Party was able to establish its corporate public ownership and planned economy. The privatization of state-owned enterprises on the mainland after 1997, on the other hand, secretly gave the fruits of communism to communist capitalists. This capitalism of the CCP is different from that of Hong Kong; it belongs to communist capitalism. “Therefore, the CCP has never mentioned that it completed the privatization 20 years ago, and has not allowed the media to report the inside story, so as to avoid “settling scores” among the people. The CCP’s bigger fear is that once it loosens its political control, the truth about Communist capitalism will shake its rule. Therefore, the marketization of the mainland economy will not lead to democratization; on the contrary, it will allow the CCP to rely on its new economic strength to strengthen its political control.
Under communist capitalism, the CCP has, on the one hand, acquiesced to the migration of large numbers of communist capitalists to Hong Kong to gradually take control of the Hong Kong economy; on the other hand, its covetousness for the hinterlandization of Hong Kong is growing, as the popular clamor for democratization in Hong Kong constitutes a growing pressure on the CCP. China’s economic rise actually affected the political fate of Hong Kong, and one country, two systems died as a result. When the Sino-British negotiations were held to take back Hong Kong, I am afraid Deng Xiaoping did not expect that China’s economic rise would be so rapid, and how short-lived the “one country, two systems” system would be.
Without the economic restructuring of the mainland in 1997, the mainland would not have been able to achieve economic prosperity, and Hong Kong’s special status might not have fallen, while there was still some room for political democratization in Hong Kong; after the implementation of communist capitalism in the mainland, the Chinese Communist Party’s willingness to extinguish any democratic aspirations gradually rose to the peak after the reform and opening up.