One country, two systems

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"One country, two systems" is an idea originally proposed by Deng Xiaoping, then Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China (PRC), for the reunification of China during the early 1980s. He suggested that there would be only one China, but areas such as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan could have their own capitalist economic and political systems, while the rest of China uses the socialist system. Under the suggestion, Taiwan could continue to have its own political system, legal, military, economic and financial affairs, including commercial and cultural agreements with foreign countries, and would enjoy "certain rights" in foreign affairs.[1]


Hong Kong and Macau

In 1984, Deng Xiaoping proposed to apply the principle to Hong Kong in the negotiation with the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher over the future of Hong Kong when the lease of the New Territories (including New Kowloon) of Hong Kong to the United Kingdom was to expire in 1997. The same principle was proposed in talks with Portugal about Macau.

The principle is that, upon reunification, despite the practice of socialism in mainland China, both Hong Kong and Macau, which were colonies of the UK and Portugal respectively, can retain their established system under a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years after reunification. What will happen after 2047 (Hong Kong) and 2049 (Macau) has never been publicly stated.

Chapter 1, Article 5 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, reads:[2]

The establishment of these regions, called special administrative regions (SARs), is authorized by Article 31 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, which states that the State may establish SARs when necessary, and that the systems to be instituted in them shall be prescribed by law enacted by the National People's Congress in light of the specific conditions.

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