Not long ago, the Fourth Session of China’s 13th National People’s Congress(NPC, China’s top legislature), passed the “Decision of the National People’s Congress on Improving the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Electoral System” with a high number of votes. This is another major move taken by the State to improve the legal and political system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region(HSAR) following the enactment and implementation of the “Law on the Maintenance of National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.” I would like to elaborate on the following points.
- There are obvious loopholes and shortcomings in the current election system of the HKSAR, and necessary measures must be taken to amend and improve it.
Hong Kong has been China’s territory since ancient times. After its return to the motherland in 1997, Hong Kong was re-incorporated into the national governance system. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China(PRC) and the Basic Law of the HKSAR of the PRC jointly constitute the constitutional foundation of the HKSAR.
However, judging from the practice since its return to the motherland for more than 20 years, Hong Kong’s current electoral system has relatively obvious defects and problems. In recent years, especially since the “Extradition Law Amendment Bill Incident” occurred in Hong Kong in 2019, anti-China forces and local radical separatist forces have used loopholes in Hong Kong’s current election system to enter the governance structure of the SAR. Through the HKSAR election platform, the Legislative Council and the district council meeting platform, or using the status of relevant public officials, they openly advocated “Hong Kong independence” and other propositions, strenuously paralyzed the operation of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR, obstructed the HKSAR government’s administration according to law, and resisted central governance, even collided with external hostile forces in an attempt to seize the power of governance in Hong Kong. Some foreign and overseas forces have also openly interfered in Hong Kong affairs through legislative, administrative and other channels including consular institutions in Hong Kong and non-governmental organizations, brutally imposed so-called “sanctions” on relevant personnel in my country, and brazenly supported and provided a protective umbrella for Hong Kong’s anti-China forces.
These actions and activities have seriously challenged the bottom line of the principle of “one country, two systems”, severely damaged Hong Kong’s constitutional order and the rule of law, severely endangered national sovereignty, security, and development interests, severely undermined the overall stability of Hong Kong society, and harmed the well-being of Hong Kong people.
Based on the actual situation in Hong Kong, the NPC improved the electoral system of the SAR to effectively eliminate hidden dangers and risks in the system and mechanism, ensure that the HKSAR is governed by law and effective governance, and that the practice of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong always moves in the right direction.
- The central government leads the improvement of the HKSAR’s electoral system, which has unquestionable legitimacy, rationality, and legitimacy.
The HKSAR is an inseparable part of the PRC. It is a local administrative region of the PRC that enjoys a high degree of autonomy and is directly under the Central People’s Government. The central government has the power to govern Hong Kong as well as the power to lead and decide on the development of the political system. Since the return of Hong Kong, the Central Government has always been the leader and decision maker in Hong Kong’s democratic development and its electoral system improvement, while Hong Kong has been a participant. It is the constitutional power that the central government enjoys in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law to determine its electoral system based on the actual situation of Hong Kong, and it is also the constitutional responsibility of the central government.
In the face of serious loopholes and risks in the current election system of the HKSAR, the Central Government improved the electoral system in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Hong Kong Basic Law to plug the loopholes in the system, to ensure that Hong Kong’s democratic system develops healthier and smoother within the framework of the “one country, two systems” and on the track of the Constitution and the Basic Law, and to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests. It is in full compliance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Basic Law, which is unquestionable.
- Only by insisting on “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong” with patriots as the main body can ensure the stability and long-term development of “one country, two systems”.
It is a common practice in the world to make strict requirements on the patriotic position and relevant political qualifications of governors. Adhering to “patriots administering Hong Kong” is to ensure that Hong Kong after the return to the motherland will be governed by patriots, and the power of the HKSAR must be in the hands of patriots.
Hong Kong is in a critical period of chaos and governance. Only by fully implementing the fundamental principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” and ensuring that the HKSAR is governed by law and effectively governed, can Hong Kong be possible to settle disputes and work together to solve a series of deep-seated problems in economic and social development in order to achieve long-term prosperity and stability. Only when the central government’s comprehensive governance over the SAR is effectively implemented and the constitutional order established by the Constitution and the Basic Law is effectively maintained can “one country, two systems” ensure stability and long-term development.
China urges some foreign countries and foreign forces to abide by international law and basic norms of international relations and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs. We have every reason to believe that with the support and participation of the majority of patriots, Hong Kong will have a better tomorrow!
By H.E. Ren Yisheng, Ambassador of China to Liberia