Since the handover in 1997, Hong Kong has been ruled under the governing principle of "one country, two systems."
But a white paper issued this week by China's State Council Information office is trying to set the record straight, emphasizing Beijing's "comprehensive jurisdiction" over the territory.
The white paper puts forward the view that some Hong Kong residents are "confused or lopsided in their understanding" of the principle.
It says, "The high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) is not full autonomy, nor a decentralized power. It is the power to run local affairs as authorized by the central leadership."
Political columnist and commentator Frank Ching calls the paper a clear warning to Hong Kong, pointing out a line about Beijing's right to declare a state of emergency in Hong Kong.
"If they declare a state of emergency, that means the People's Liberation Army can come in and take over the job of Hong Kong police."
He adds, "That would be the end of Hong Kong as we know it today."
Ching also makes an interesting observation about why the paper was released in seven languages.
"It's warning foreign countries not to use Hong Kong as a base for subversion."