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Necessary constitutional move to protect HK's future: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-08-08 20:11
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Photo taken on Aug 1, 2020 shows a jogger in Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhua]

With the recent surge in novel coronavirus infections in Hong Kong prompting the special administrative region government to postpone the Legislative Council election, originally scheduled for Sept 6, for one year, how LegCo will function in the interim remains a question.

Since LegCo's main functions include enacting laws, approving budgets and public expenditure, debating issues of public interests and handling complaints from Hong Kong residents, as well as playing a key role in the smooth implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle, it is the responsibility of the country's top legislature, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, to handle legislative affairs during the "vacuum period" period.

As such, the NPC Standing Committee meeting over the weekend to discuss LegCo's functioning was a necessary constitutional move to find a workable solution to the problem at an early date in order to set Hong Kong residents' minds at rest. For only after this major issue is settled can Hong Kong focus on tackling the serious threat the new wave of infections poses to public health, and the SAR's economy.

The move is also crucial to guarantee the smooth administration of the SAR government and maintain the normal social operation as well as the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

The top legislature will undoubtedly accord the highest priority to the SAR's overall interests while weighing the option to extend the tenure of the current LegCo members for one year during the "vacuum period".

By trying to set their own terms for the vacuum period, the opposition camp have turned a blind eye to the filibustering and other obstructive tactics that have hindered the functioning of LegCo for more than a year. There have been growing calls in Hong Kong for the expulsion of all chaos-causing elements from LegCo, so as to restore order in the city.

Irrespective of what the NPC Standing Committee decides, it should be mandatory for all LegCo members to uphold the Basic Law of the SAR and the "one country, two systems" principle.

Given the tough challenges the city faces in the year ahead, including reviving the economy, generating jobs and tackling US sanctions, LegCo must function efficiently, and cooperate with the SAR government to better serve Hong Kong residents. That should be the consensus of all LegCo members.

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