Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday that China will “resolutely guard against and deter external forces’ interference in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macau”.
The state leader made the remarks at the opening of the annual plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), adding the central government will “stay true to the letter and spirit of the principle of One Country Two Systems”.
He said Hong Kong people will continue to rule Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy.
The premier added that Beijing will “improve” the systems of Hong Kong and Macau for enforcing the Chinese constitution and the Basic Laws of the two SARs, and ensure laws are implemented and enforced to safeguard national security in the two cities.
While he did not give details, speculation is rife that Beijing will reform Hong Kong's political system in a way that would reduce the political leverage of the opposition camp.
A draft decision on improving the electoral system of Hong Kong has already been submitted to the NPC on Friday for discussion.
Li, meanwhile, said the central government will support the SARs’ economic growth.
On Taiwan, the state leader said Beijing is committed to the one-China principle and the 1992 consensus, adding Beijing will “remain highly vigilant against and resolutely deter any separatist activist seeking ‘Taiwan independence’”.
His comments came shortly after the mainland banned the import of pineapples from Taiwan citing the discovery of bugs on the fruit, but analysts say the move could have huge implications on cross-strait trade ties.