‘One Country, Two Systems’ is a lie — implied by the Hong Kong Chief Executive
The ‘One Country, Two Systems’ formula is said to be the key to the success of Hong Kong in the past twenty years, but it is now confirmed to be a lie by the Chief Executive of HK. The recent Reuter’s two reports on the Chief Executive’s closed-door speeches to a group of young elites and a group of business leaders revealed that she found the formula does not work:
1. One Country, Two Systems formula is a lie
First, she admitted that she could not decide on HK internal matters such as setting up an investigation committee on the ‘Be-water Movement’ or withdrawing an extradition bill, but had to strictly follow the central government’s orders, even though the Basic Law promises that the central government would not intervene the HK government’s decisions on internal matters of HK.
The direct quote from the Reuters report on Aug 30 is as follows: “…the chief executive of Hong Kong, submitted a report to Beijing that assessed protesters’ five key demands and found that withdrawing a contentious extradition bill could help defuse the mounting political crisis in the territory. The central government rejected Lam’s suggestion of withdrawing the extradition bill and ordered her not to yield to any of the protesters’ other demands at that time…. represents concrete evidence of the extent to which China is controlling the Hong Kong government’s response to the unrest.” 
On another occasion, she told the business leaders that the Chief Executive of HK has to serve two masters, which implies very limited autonomy:
“The political room for the chief executive who, unfortunately, has to serve two masters by constitution, that is the central people’s government and the people of Hong Kong, that political room for maneuvering is very, very, very limited.” 
The political room is so limited that she does not even have the freedom to resign. She told the business leaders, “If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit,..,”  If a chief executive does not even have the liberty to make a decision purely of her own personal rights, how can we believe that there is high autonomy in HK governance led by her?
2. How to define foreign affairs?
She also told us a big loophole of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ formula. Since the Basic Law stipulate that the central government is responsible for foreign affairs relating to Hong Kong, as well as its defense. However, there is no mention of how to define foreign affairs. Thus, once the matter is classified as foreign affairs by the central government, then the HK government would have no say.
For example, she said to the effect that she had few options once an issue had been elevated “to a national level,” a reference to the leadership in Beijing, “to a sort of sovereignty and security level…” 
Yet, based on all the publicly available information of this Be-water Movement that I can reach, there is no concrete evidence of any issues related to a sort of sovereignty and security level. Interestingly, “the Chinese central government has … accused foreign powers of fuelling unrest. The Foreign Ministry has repeatedly warned other nations against interfering in Hong Kong”  Just by insisting that it is a ‘color revolution’ that challenges national sovereignty and threatens ‘one country, two systems’, even without any good evidence, then one can in principle classify anything as foreign affairs. This case clearly demonstrates this ambiguity of the formula.
3. International Relation Determines Political Decisions
Furthermore, the case also shows that the central government does not listen to the voice of HK people, but care about the international pressure. I have also found that the central government’s decisions are strongly shaped by international pressure (Yiu, 2019) , and the Chief Executive of HK further confirmed my findings by her speech as follows:
“They [the central government] care about the country’s international profile. It has taken China a long time to build up to that sort of international profile and to have some say, not only being a big economy but a responsible big economy, so to forsake all those positive developments is clearly not on their agenda.” 
As they care so much about the international profile, and HK is such a global financial center, big events happened in HK would naturally attract international attention, then all these events would be foreign affairs, and would not be within the governance of HK. That is, the promise of high autonomy empowered by the formula is empty!
[中文版: 姚松炎(2019) 香港特首暗示一國兩制只是謊言，方格子，9月5日。https://vocus.cc/eyanalysispoliecon/5d706584fd89780001ca9205]
 Pomfret, J. and Torode, G. (2019) Exclusive: Amid crisis, China rejected Hong Kong plan to appease protesters — sources, Reuters, Aug 30. https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-hongkong-protests-china-exclusive/exclusive-amid-crisis-china-rejected-hong-kong-plan-to-appease-protesters-sources-idUKKCN1VK0HG
 Torode, G., Pomfret, J. and Roantree, M. (2019) Special Report: Hong Kong leader says she would ‘quit’ if she could, fears her ability to resolve crisis now ‘very limited’, Reuters, Sep 2. https://reut.rs/2zKctQH
 Lam, C. (2019) Transcript of voice recording of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam saying she would ‘quit’ if she could, Reuters, Sep 2. https://reut.rs/32mWB2L
 Lam, J. (2019) ‘Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times’: Who came up with this protest chant and why is the government worried, SCMP, Aug 9. https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3021518/liberate-hong-kong-revolution-our-times-who-came-protest
 Yiu, C.Y. (2019) International Pressure Shapes Political Decisions — the case of the HK Be-water Movement, Medium, Aug 22. https://medium.com/discourse/international-pressure-shapes-political-decisions-the-case-of-the-hk-be-water-movement-76ffde8b01c6