The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong represent the central authority in the city, which are authorized by the central government to handle Hong Kong affairs and have the right and responsibility to supervise the implementation of the Basic Law, Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, said on Tuesday morning.
An aerial view of Hong Kong. (Photo: Xinhua)
Lam clarified and emphasized the roles of the two institutions set up by the central government in HKSAR after revised government press releases during the weekend caused questioning by the opposition over their roles in the city. Experts noted that the supervisory power of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong cannot be questioned.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said on Tuesday that if there is a situation which seriously affects the comprehensive and accurate implementation of the "one country, two systems" policy and the Basic Law, or harms the fundamental interests of the Chinese mainland and HKSAR, the central government must intervene, including stating its position and attitude in due course, and correcting it according to law.
On the issue of pan-democratic lawmakers recently paralyzing the legislature with filibustering tactics, the chief executive said, "Whether it's on the constitutional system, the HKSAR government or daily operations, the liaison office has the right to speak because it represents the central government and can also make a point. It is the right and obligation of the central organization in Hong Kong," local media reported.
Amid the coronavirus epidemic, the recent arrest of some figures from the opposition camp in addition to discussions sparked by the Hong Kong and Macao affairs office and the liaison office are being interpreted by some Western media outlets as a move of the central government to erode the city's so-called freedom.
Chinese experts on Hong Kong matters clarified that the recentarrest of the riot leaders, who are from the opposition camp, including Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and Hong Kong barrister Martin Lee Chu-ming, sent out a clear message that crossing legal boundaries, endangering the rule of law and challenging the "one country, two systems" principle will not be tolerated.
Following month-long riots inflamed by the opposition camp and riot leaders like Lai and Lee, more calls to pass Article 23 have emerged in Hong Kong and the mainland.
Lai accepted foreign aid to incite radical social movements in Hong Kong and subvert the Basic Law, Tian Feilong, associate professor at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times in an earlier interview. However, he has been at large due to the absence of Article 23 legislation and judicial omission.
The opposition in Hong Kong has challenged the "one country, two systems" principle time and again, and Lam's latest reiteration is believed to be a sign that the liaison office's supervisory power cannot be questioned, and that the central government will strengthen its governance and relevant plans in the future, which has nothing to do with "interference" in the city's affairs, as the opposition called it.