Beijing's top official in Hong Kong, Luo Huining, has warned that the "One Country, Two Systems" principle will be at "serious risk" if what he described as a "long-term national security loophole" is not plugged.
Writing in the People's Daily newspaper two weeks after taking over as director of the liaison office, Luo said there is no distinction between the SAR and the mainland when it comes to issues of national security.
He said the central government will continue to support Hong Kong in setting up a "mechanism" regarding national security, as well as on strengthening enforcement powers.
Luo said if the "loopholes" are not plugged, "One Country, Two Systems" could be attacked and damaged.
He also warned of "systemic shortcomings" in Hong Kong's version of the principle. He didn't specify what these failings might be, but said they must be addressed to ensure the SAR's long-term prosperity.
Luo, a former Communist Party secretary of Shanxi province, replaced Wang Zhimin as liaison office chief at the beginning of the year, almost seven months after Hong Kong plunged into its worst political crisis since the handover.