Full Text: The Practice of the "One Country, Two Systems" Policy in the HKSAR
Updated: 2014-06-10 15:55
We should have a full understanding of the provisions of the Basic Law. All the provisions of the Basic Law underlie the HKSAR system. They are not isolated from but interrelated with each other. Each of these provisions must be understood in the context of the Basic Law and the HKSAR system as a whole. The implementation of the Basic Law shows that if we comprehend individual provisions of the Basic Law in an isolated way without taking into account the Basic Law as a whole, stressing one aspect while ignoring others, ambiguity or even contentious interpretation will occur, which will severely hamper the implementation of the Basic Law. Only by comprehensively understanding all the provisions of the Basic Law can we find that the HKSAR system, along with all its components, is an integrated whole complementary to each other and that this system plays the role of protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, and ensures the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.
We should respect and uphold the power of interpretation and amendment of the Basic Law vested in the NPC and its Standing Committee. The Basic Law provides that the power of interpretation of the Basic Law shall be vested in the NPC Standing Committee, and the power of amendment shall be vested in the NPC. The Basic Law also provides that the courts of the HKSAR, in the process of adjudication, may give their own interpretation of the provisions in the Basic Law that are within the limits of the autonomy of the HKSAR and other provisions. This power of interpretation comes from the authorization of the NPC Standing Committee. However, if the courts of the HKSAR, in the process of adjudicating cases, need to interpret the provisions of the Basic Law concerning affairs which are the responsibility of the central government, or concerning the relationship between the central authorities and the HKSAR, and if such interpretation will affect the judgments on the cases, the courts of the HKSAR shall, before making their final judgments which are not appealable, seek an interpretation of the relevant provisions from the NPC Standing Committee through the Court of Final Appeal of the HKSAR. When the NPC Standing Committee makes an interpretation of the provisions concerned, the courts of the HKSAR, in applying those provisions, shall follow the interpretation of the NPC Standing Committee, which enjoys the same status with HKSAR laws. The fact that the Standing Committee of the NPC exercises the power of interpretation of the Basic Law in accordance with the law is aimed at maintaining the rule of law in Hong Kong, as it oversees HKSAR's implementation of the Basic Law and protects the high degree of autonomy of the region.
We should improve the systems and mechanisms related to implementing the Basic Law, which will help enhance its authority. Since the Basic Law came into force, a series of systems and mechanisms related to its implementation have been put in place. For example, in amending the method for selection of the chief executive of the HKSAR and method for the formation of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR, a "five-step" legal procedure has been established and the five steps are: the chief executive makes a report to the NPC Standing Committee; the NPC Standing Committee makes a corresponding decision; the Legislative Council endorses the decision; and the chief executive gives his consent; and the NPC Standing Committee approves or puts it on the record. Regarding the interpretation of the Basic Law, the relevant procedures and working mechanisms that have been established include: the NPC Standing Committee interprets the Law on its own initiative; the chief executive makes a report to the State Council, which then submits it to the NPC Standing Committee and asks it to give an interpretation; or the Court of Final Appeal of the HKSAR seeks an interpretation of the relevant provisions from the NPC Standing Committee. Regarding legislation in the HKSAR, the working procedure for the NPC Standing Committee to put on the record of laws enacted by the HKSAR has been established; in terms of judicial aid between the mainland and HKSAR, arrangements have been made in mutual service of judicial documents, reciprocal recognition and enforcement of arbitration awards of civil and commercial cases as well as judgments of certain civil and commercial cases. Regarding accountability the chief executive holds to the central government, a system is in place for the chief executive to make reports to the central government on his/her own work. As the practice of "one country, two systems" continues and the Basic Law is further implemented, it is imperative to further improve the systems and mechanisms in relation to the implementation of the Basic Law. In particular, it is necessary to, with an eye to the lasting peace and order in Hong Kong, exercise well the power invested in the central government as prescribed in the Basic Law and see to it that the relationship between the central government and HKSAR is indeed brought onto a legal and institutionalized orbit.