Learning English - Words in the News
21 December, 2004 - Published 10:25 GMT
China: one country two systems
The Chinese president has urged Macau and Hong Kong to try harder at implementing the one country two systems formula. How successful has the formula been for China? This report from Bethan Jinkinson:
When Deng Xiaoping devised the principle of one country two systems in the nineteen eighties it probably seemed like the perfect solution to a very delicate problem. How could China maintain its public commitment to socialism whilst still cashing in on the benefits of Hong Kong and Macau's very capitalist economies? So Deng came up with the agreement that the territories would return to Chinese sovereignty, but would be allowed to maintain their capitalist economic and social systems for fifty years. China meanwhile would continue along its path towards socialism, albeit with Chinese characteristics.
So how successful has the formula been? Well both Hong Kong and Macau were handed back to China with little fuss. The governments of Britain and Portugal were able to say that they had addressed the concerns of activists, worried that the limited freedoms they enjoyed in the territories would be eroded by Beijing’s rule. And daily life in Hong Kong and Macau has not altered dramatically.
The big change that has taken place since the handovers is the rise of the Chinese mainland as an economic superpower. Some economists say it is not so much one country, two systems as one country one system, as China hurtles towards a market economy at an astonishing pace.
Bethan Jinkinson, BBC
devised the principle
the perfect solution
a very delicate problem
cashing in on
continue along its path
with little fuss