Differences unmasked in bookseller, pop star episodes

Straits Times
Date: January 31, 2016
By: Li Xueying, Hong Kong Correspondent

China mainland’s policies towards Taiwan and Hong Kong are not getting the reception it _87443296_9aa462dd-32dc-42d0-933a-7f6ee1a845acdesires.

For more than a century, China’s desire to bring Hong Kong and Taiwan fully into its fold has been thwarted by various events: opium, conflict with Japan, civil war.

Now, add two more items to that list: an elderly bookseller and a teenage K-pop starlet.

They have weakened the two constructs – One Country Two Systems and the 1992 Consensus – which in recent decades had undergirded China’s engagement with the two islands. With the latest developments, China’s relations with Hong Kong and Taiwan, never easy issues for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government, look set to be trickier than ever.

The curious disappearance of 65-year-old Hong Kong bookseller Lee Bo and the similarly curious apology by 16-year-old Taiwanese girl band singer-dancer Chou Tzu-yu could not have been timed better by critics of Beijing looking to poke holes into its handling of the Greater China periphery.

First, two days before New Year, Mr Lee vanished from the streets of Hong Kong. A partner in a publishing firm specialising in gossipy political paperbacks about China’s leaders, he was widely suspected to have been snatched by Chinese state security agents.

If so, this would have been a clear breach of the city’s mini-Constitution Basic Law, which states that the city has its own laws and enforcement powers. Even Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying, while obsfucating on whether Chinese officials had indeed overreached into the territory, said such actions would have been “unacceptable”.     [FULL  STORY]