Full Text: The Practice of the "One Country, Two Systems" Policy in the HKSAR
Updated: 2014-06-10 15:55
HKSAR residents' fundamental rights and freedoms are fully protected. Hong Kong residents enjoy basic rights and freedoms in accordance with the law, which are under the full protection of the Constitution, the Basic Law and the local laws. The Constitution and the Basic Law safeguard the HKSAR residents' fundamental rights and freedoms at the constitutional level. The HKSAR provides further protection to residents' rights and freedoms by enacting the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, Race Discrimination Ordinance, Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) Ordinance, Minimum Wage Ordinance and other ordinances. A multitude of organs, including the Equal Opportunity Commission, Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Office of the Ombudsman, Legal Aid Department, Independent Police Complaints Council, Legal Aid Services Council, Women's Commission and Commission on Poverty, have been set up by the HKSAR government to help promote and protect HKSAR residents' fundamental rights and freedoms.In addition, the Basic Law explicitly stipulates that Chinese citizens who are residents of the HKSAR shall be entitled to participation in the management of state affairs according to law. In accordance with the assigned number of seats and the selection method specified by the NPC, the Chinese citizens among the HKSAR residents elect deputies of the region to the NPC to participate in the work of China's supreme organ of state power. The HKSAR has held in succession four such elections and 36 deputies were elected each time by the broadly representative Conference for Electing Deputies of the HKSAR to the NPC. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) always values the participation of Hong Kong compatriots. Aside from specially inviting Hong Kong personages, other CPPCC groups also include representatives from Hong Kong. The 12th CPPCC National Committee had a 124-member Hong Kong group, and 16 other CPPCC groups had 82 members from Hong Kong.
-The democratic political system has been steadily promoted. Before the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the United Kingdom designated governors to enforce colonial rule over Hong Kong for more than 150 years. Since 1997, the HKSAR government and the legislature have been composed of local residents. The chief executive of the HKSAR is appointed by the Central People's Government on the basis of the results of elections or consultations held locally; the legislature of the HKSAR is established by elections. The Basic Law of the HKSAR explicitly stipulates that the chief executive and all the members of the Legislative Council must be elected by universal suffrage, making universal suffrage a legal objective. Since the establishment of the HKSAR, the central government and the HKSAR government have unswervingly and steadily promoted Hong Kong's democratic political system, featuring the election methods for the chief executive and the Legislative Council, according to the Basic Law and relevant decisions of the NPC Standing Committee.
The election of the chief executive of the HKSAR has become increasingly democratic. Candidates for the first chief executive were elected by a 400-member Selection Committee, while candidates for the second, third and fourth chief executives were elected by the Election Committee, the membership of which in the meantime had grown from 800 to 1,200. Members of the Election Committee came from the four major sectors of "industry, commerce and finance," "the professions," "labor, social services, religious and other sectors" and "members of the Legislative Council, representatives of district boards and Heung Yee Kuk, HKSAR deputies to the NPC, and representatives of HKSAR members of the National Committee of the CPPCC" in equal proportions. Such a composition is an expression of equal participation and broad representativeness.
The election of the Legislative Council is becoming more and more direct. The first Legislative Council formed in 1998 had 20 members elected directly by geographical constituencies, 30 members by functional constituencies, and ten members by the Election Committee. The second Legislative Council formed in 2000 had 24 members elected directly by geographical constituencies, 30 members by functional constituencies, and six members by the Election Committee. The third and fourth Legislative Councils formed respectively in 2004 and 2008 both had 30 members elected directly by geographical constituencies, and 30 members by functional constituencies. The membership of the fifth Legislative Council elected in 2012 expanded to 70, including 35 members elected directly by geographical constituencies and 35 members by functional constituencies. The additional five members elected by functional constituencies were nominated by district boards, and elected by voters who had enjoyed no right to vote under functional constituencies.
The timetable has been set for universal suffrage. The 31st Session of the Standing Committee of the Tenth NPC made a decision on December 29, 2007 "that the election of the fifth chief executive of the HKSAR in 2017 may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage; that after the chief executive is selected by universal suffrage, the election of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR may be implemented by the method of electing all the members by universal suffrage," thus setting a timetable for the selection of the chief executive and all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. From December 4, 2013 to May 3, 2014, the HKSAR government initiated a five-month public consultation on the election of the chief executive in 2017 and that of the Legislative Council in 2016, starting the relevant procedures for introducing universal suffrage.