China said today that it will allow Hong Kong to remain capitalist after reverting to Beijing rule in eight years only if its residents stop supporting the mainland's crushed democracy movement.
China also showed its determination to control its unruly student population by announcing a deep cut in the size of the nation's college freshman class for the fall. The cuts were largest at schools whose students played leading roles in seven weeks of protests for a freer society.
Hong Kong residents have helped smuggle movement activists to the West and pledged money to help them oppose the Chinese leaders who ordered soldiers to attack demonstrators in Beijing on June 3-4.
'Won't Allow' Subversion
But a commentary in the Communist Party newspaper, the People's Daily, accused Hong Kong activists of sabotaging the Chinese-British agreement that calls for the enclave to remain capitalist for at least 50 years after it reverts to mainland rule in 1997.
"We will not allow people to use Hong Kong as a base for subverting the central people's government," it said.
"Not engaging in activities to overthrow (the Chinese government) is a precondition for allowing (Hong Kong) to retain its capitalist system."
Hong Kong residents, already nervous about the mainland crackdown, are unlikely to be reassured by the commentary, which apparently was written by a high-level official. It was signed with an obvious pseudonym, Ai Zhong, two characters that sound the same as the words "Love China."
Cutting Freshman Class
Meanwhile, China's State Education Commission said it is cutting the size of the nation's college freshman class, from the planned 640,000 to 610,000.
It said reasons for the cut, announced on state-run TV, included problems in job placement and weak college management. Social science courses should be revised, it said, "to be in accordance with the needs of building socialism," and emphasis should be put on professional training instead of college education.
College admissions officials put it more bluntly, saying the cut was ordered because of the student movement. Beijing University, China's most prestigious school and the center of the movement, will have its freshman class cut from a planned 2,100 to 600.