HONG KONG, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The National People's Congress (NPC) improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has a solid legal basis and will do good to Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability, Hong Kong legal professionals have said.
A draft decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR was submitted last Friday to the fourth session of the 13th NPC for deliberation.
Louis Chen, the secretary general of the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation, said that as an important part of Hong Kong's political system, the initiative of the central authorities in improving the electoral system is justified. Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the evolution of Hong Kong's electoral system has been led and decided by the central authorities.
In order to improve Hong Kong's electoral system and solve relevant issues, the NPC's Standing Committee has interpreted the Basic Law of the HKSAR for several times and made relevant decisions, exercising its constitutional power at the national level, Chen said, adding that according to the constitutional order, the central authorities play a dominant role in the development of democracy and the improvement of Hong Kong's electoral system.
Ronny Tong, a member of the Executive Council of the HKSAR and senior counsel, said that from a constitutional point of view, Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy comes from the mandate of the NPC, which has the power to help the HKSAR improve its system.
After the NPC Standing Committee amends Annexes I and II to the Basic Law of the HKSAR in accordance with the Constitution, the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR and the relevant decisions of the NPC, the HKSAR shall make amendments to the relevant local laws accordingly, Tong said.
Retired magistrate and barrister Symon Wong Yu-wing said that according to Articles 45, 68 and 159 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the NPC has the power to amend Annexes I and II to the Basic Law of the HKSAR to lawfully and timely improve the method for the selection of the HKSAR chief executive and the formation of the HKSAR's Legislative Council.
As for the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong", it has been included in the HKSAR Basic Law since its inception, Wong said, adding that no constitution of any country allows people who do not love the country to rule.
Willy Fu, vice chairman of the Executive Council of Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation, said Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and the NPC is the highest organ of state power. Therefore, the NPC's review of the draft decision is completely constitutional, lawful and reasonable.
Fu hoped that after the review and passage of the bill, the HKSAR will improve its local laws as soon as possible in accordance with the contents of the bill, so as to prevent anti-China disruptors and outside forces from grabbing the power to administer Hong Kong, and ensure the steady implementation of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong.
Simon Hoey Lee, a member of the HKSAR Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee, said that Article 159 of the HKSAR Basic Law stipulates in detail the power to amend the HKSAR Basic Law and its procedures in four paragraphs.
Paragraph 1 clearly stipulates that the power of amendment to the HKSAR Basic Law shall be vested in the NPC. Paragraph 2 stipulates that the power to propose bills for amendments to the HKSAR Basic Law shall be vested in the Standing Committee of the NPC, the State Council and the HKSAR, Lee said.
The rest of paragraph 2 and paragraph 3 stipulate that specific procedures of amendments are initiated by the HKSAR. Paragraph 4 stipulates that no amendment to the HKSAR Basic Law shall contravene the established basic policies of the People's Republic of China regarding Hong Kong, he added.
Lee said that the NPC authorized its Standing Committee to make relevant amendments because the HKSAR Basic Law is a national law enacted by the NPC. The NPC certainly has the power of interpretation and amendment over the HKSAR Basic Law.
In fact, from a deeper legal point of view, any organ that makes laws has the power to make changes to the laws that it enacts. Therefore, the description in paragraph 1 is both a stipulation and an explanation of legal principle, Lee said.
"Since the NPC has the power to amend the HKSAR Basic Law, it is natural for it to step in when there are defects in system which cannot be solved by Hong Kong itself," Lee said.
The legal professionals also said that it is of particular practical significance to improve the electoral system of the HKSAR after the social unrest.
Chan Man-ki, a deputy to the NPC from the HKSAR and founding president of the Small and Medium Law Firms Association of Hong Kong, said that improving the electoral system of the HKSAR can prevent "Hong Kong independence" activists from entering the governance structure of the HKSAR and prevent outside forces in Hong Kong from interfering in China's internal affairs and the affairs of the HKSAR.
Chan said it is necessary to kick out those who are not qualified and violate the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong."
Fu said that after entering the governance structure of the HKSAR by exploiting loopholes in the system, the unrest instigators wantonly disrupted the operation of the Legislative Council and the District Councils, and maliciously obstructed the administration of the HKSAR government, which had a serious impact on the well-being of Hong Kong people.
Therefore, it is imperative and necessary to fully implement the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong," which will play a key role in safeguarding national security and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, Fu added.
Chan Hiu-fung, a deputy to the NPC from the HKSAR and head of Hong Kong and Mainland Legal Profession Association, said that improving the electoral system of the HKSAR can close the loopholes in it, ensure the implementation of the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong", and make sure that the principle of "one country, two systems" is fully applied in Hong Kong without distortion.