OPINIONS HKSAR electoral system improvement enjoys solid political, legal foundations: experts


HKSAR electoral system improvement enjoys solid political, legal foundations: experts


20:38, April 01, 2021

File photo: Xinhua

BEIJING, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The recent move by China's top legislature to improve the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has solid political and legal foundations and extensive public support, experts say.

The amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law of the HKSAR were passed on Tuesday at a session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. The two annexes respectively concern the method for the selection of the HKSAR chief executive and the method for the formation of the HKSAR Legislative Council (LegCo) and its voting procedures.

Maria Tam Wai-chu, deputy director of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee under the NPC Standing Committee, called the step taken by the NPC Standing Committee "very timely and necessary."

It is a move to ensure Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability and the continued success of "one country, two systems," Tam said.

Recent years have seen some LegCo members from the opposition utilize "filibustering" to obstruct the administration of the SAR government, some have colluded with external forces to undertake activities for "Hong Kong independence," and some have even called for foreign countries to sanction China and the HKSAR, she recalled.

At the same time, the amendment, which was undertaken by the NPC Standing Committee with the authorization of the NPC, the highest state organ of power, has solid political and legal foundations, she said.

Tian Feilong, associate professor with the Law School of Beihang University, said the NPC Standing Committee's move to improve Hong Kong's electoral system is constitutional as the electoral system, as part of the political system, is a matter within the purview of the country's central authorities.

He Junzhi, deputy head of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said the amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law feature more specific provisions on Hong Kong's electoral system than their original versions, serving as a basis for the HKSAR to amend relevant local laws accordingly.

The amendment has received extensive public support. A public petition launched in support of it received 2.38 million signatures in Hong Kong in just 11 days.

According to a survey conducted by local think-tank Bauhinia Institute, approximately 70 percent of the Hong Kong residents interviewed believe that improving the electoral system will enhance local people's confidence in the future of Hong Kong.

All of this, experts say, shows that the legislation is in line with the people's aspirations and the trend of the times, and reflects the hope for order in Hong Kong society, undermined by violence in recent years.

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