Full Text: The Practice of the "One Country, Two Systems" Policy in the HKSAR
Updated: 2014-06-10 15:55
2. The HKSAR Exercises a High Degree of Autonomy in Accordance with the Law
After the establishment of the HKSAR, the previous capitalist system and way of life remain unchanged in Hong Kong, and existing laws remain basically unchanged. Adhering to the law, the HKSAR protects the right of ownership of private property, maintains the status of Hong Kong as a free port and a separate customs territory, maintains independent finances, practices an independent taxation system, and formulates its own policies regarding trade, finance, education, science, culture, public health and sports. In accordance with the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the decision of the NPC Standing Committee on handling the laws previously practiced in Hong Kong, the laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law are maintained, except for any that contravene the Basic Law and are subject to any amendment by the legislature of the HKSAR. On this basis, the HKSAR exercises a high degree of autonomy, and fully exercises its administrative, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication.
The chief executive of the HKSAR is the head of the Special Administrative Region. He/she represents the HKSAR and is accountable to both the Central People's Government and the HKSAR. The chief executive is also the head of the government of the Special Administrative Region, and exercises powers and functions conferred by the Basic Law, such as leading the government of the region and being responsible for the implementation of the Basic Law. While exercising his/her powers and functions, the chief executive shall implement the directives issued by the Central People's Government in respect of the relevant matters provided for in the Basic Law of the HKSAR. The government of the HKSAR is composed of permanent residents of Hong Kong in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Basic Law, with a Department of Administration, a Department of Finance, a Department of Justice, and various bureaus, divisions and commissions to exercise powers and functions such as formulating and implementing policies and conducting administrative affairs, as prescribed by the Basic Law. The HKSAR enjoys administrative power in a wide range of areas, including the economy, education, science, culture, sports, religion, social services, public order, and control of entry and exit of the region. In addition, the HKSAR conducts external affairs as authorized by the Central People's Government.
The Legislative Council of the HKSAR is the legislature of the HKSAR. It is formed by election, and exercises the following powers and functions in accordance with the Basic Law: enacting, amending or repealing laws in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law and legal procedures; examining and approving budgets introduced by the government, and approving taxation and public expenditure, among others. The HKSAR enjoys legislative power in a wide range of areas, and is empowered to formulate laws relating to civil, criminal and commercial affairs, as well as judicial proceedings, for application in the region in accordance with the Basic Law. The laws drawn up by the Legislative Council of the HKSAR must be reported to the NPC Standing Committee for the record. If the NPC Standing Committee, after consulting the Committee for the Basic Law of the HKSAR, considers that any law enacted by the legislature of the region is not in conformity with the provisions of the Basic Law regarding affairs within the responsibility of the central leadership or regarding the relationship between the central leadership and the region, the Standing Committee may return the law in question but shall not amend it. Any law returned by the NPC Standing Committee is immediately invalidated.
The courts of the HKSAR at all levels are the judiciary of the region, exercising the judicial power of the region. After the establishment of the HKSAR, the Court of Final Appeal was established to exercise the power of final adjudication in the region. The judicial system previously practiced in Hong Kong is maintained except for those changes consequent upon the establishment of the Court of Final Appeal. The common law and relevant judicial principles and systems previously practiced in Hong Kong, including the principle of independent adjudication, the principle of following precedents, and the jury system, continue to apply. The courts of the HKSAR have no jurisdiction over acts of state such as defense and foreign affairs. They have jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases in the region, except that the restrictions on their jurisdiction imposed by the legal system and principles previously in force in Hong Kong are maintained. When adjudicating cases, the courts of the HKSAR may refer to precedents of other common law jurisdictions, and the Court of Final Appeal may as required invite judges from other common law jurisdictions to sit in the Court of Final Appeal.
III. Comprehensive Progress Made in Various Undertakings in the HKSAR
Since the establishment of the HKSAR, the government of the Special Administrative Region has, with energetic support from the central government and the mainland, rallied people of all walks of life in Hong Kong, worked hard and overcome difficulties, made full use of the advantage of the policy of "one country, two systems," maintained overall social, economic and political stability, promoted the development of all undertakings and made new achievements one after another.