Legal forum held in Hong Kong to mark 30th anniversary of promulgation of Basic Law

HONG KONG, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) — A legal summit was held Tuesday here to mark the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

During the forum themed “Back to Basics”, officials and legal experts highlighted the significance of respecting the authority of the Constitution and the Basic Law in Hong Kong’s legal system and agreed that “patriots governing Hong Kong” is crucial to safeguarding the constitutional order of “one country, two systems”.

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said in her speech that only by correctly understanding the relationship between “one country” and “two systems” and always acting in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law, will the steady and sustained development of “one country, two systems” be ensured.

Lam said that the issue of sovereignty cannot be discussed and the advocation of “Hong Kong independence” cannot be tolerated.

When implementing the Basic Law, the principle of “one country” should be adhered to, and the relationship between the HKSAR and the central authorities should be properly handled, Lam said.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) has the power of interpretation of the Basic Law and the power of supervision over the law’s implementation, as well as the power of resolving constitutional issues during the implementation of the Basic Law, Lam said.

To fulfill her responsibility, Lam twice requested the central government to submit issues to the Standing Committee of the NPC for solutions at the constitutional level. The practice is in line with the Constitution and the Basic Law, and no slander and smear by any foreign governments or political organizations are allowed, Lam said.

In his speech, Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said the promulgation of the national security law in the HKSAR has ushered in a new era by turning chaos into social stability.

Those who are patriotic and love Hong Kong govern Hong Kong, while those who oppose China and create chaos in Hong Kong should be out, which, as a political rule under “one country, two systems”, has now become a legal norm, he said.

Zhang said that it is an urgent matter to right the wrongs in people’s minds and “patriotism” should be put before the core values of democracy, freedom and human rights that Hong Kong society upholds.

Recently the Hong Kong society has had heated discussions on the issue of judicial reform, he said, adding that reasonable voices calling for the reform should be paid high attention to by the legal field.

Also addressing the meeting, deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR Chen Dong said the Constitution and the Basic Law have determined the constitutional order of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong. To safeguard Hong Kong’s rule of law, the authority of the Constitution and the Basic Law in Hong Kong’s legal system must be respected, he added.

Chen highlighted the implementation of “patriots governing Hong Kong” and said public officers in executive, legislative and judicial organs must genuinely uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to the HKSAR.

Zhang Yong, deputy head of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, said there are two principles of building the system of the HKSAR by the Basic Law, which are “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” with patriots as the main body and a high degree of autonomy entrusted by the central authorities.

Only after the HKSAR genuinely implements the Basic Law and the central authorities effectively exercise supervision according to the Constitution, will the high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR and the overall jurisdiction of the central authorities be effectively combined, and will the steady and sustained development of “one country, two systems” be ensured, Zhang Yong said.

During the meeting, attendees also discussed the drafting procedures, the original purpose and mission and the interpretation practice of the Basic Law, the responsibilities of safeguarding national security under “one country, two systems”, and the benefits to the HKSAR of implementing “one country, two systems” according to the Basic Law.

Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Leung Chun-ying, Carrie Lam, Chen Dong, Commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry in the HKSAR Xie Feng, deputy director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR Li Jiangzhou, Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal of the HKSAR, and President of the HKSAR Legislative Council Andrew Leung attended the forum in person.

Zhang Xiaoming, Zhang Yong, and Xue Hanqin, vice president of the International Court of Justice addressed the forum online. 

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