Ten years have passed since Hong Kong was reunified with the motherland, but promoting the Basic Law remains an urgent task.
A seminar was held in Beijing yesterday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Basic Law's implementation in the Special Administrative Region (SAR).
Prominent figures from the central authorities and the SAR government took part in the seminar.
Despite a decade having passed since its implementation, it is still necessary to step up the promotion of the Basic Law so that its principles become the legal norms upheld by the whole Hong Kong community.
In his speech at the seminar, National People's Congress Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo stressed the need for an accurate understanding of the essence of the Basic Law.
But what is the essence of the Basic Law? Wu listed three principles: safeguarding the country's sovereignty, maintaining a high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong, and securing the SAR's prosperity and stability.
These have been the central government's aims ever since the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong", and "a high degree of autonomy" were implemented.
Today, the Basic Law has become an accepted part of the fabric of life in the SAR.
But during campaigning ahead of the election for the third-term chief executive, one candidate proposed revoking the central government's power to appoint principal SAR officials. The proposition came under immediate query, and drew stern criticism throughout Hong Kong.
Since "one country, two systems" is a unique arrangement, it is only natural that disputes will occasionally arise; so it is therefore essential there is a yardstick to tell right from wrong. The Basic Law is that yardstick.
There is still a long way to go before the Basic Law is fully implemented and understood by all, as demonstrated by the recent challenge to the central government's power to appoint officials.
That is why promoting the Basic Law remains as urgent a task as ever.
(China Daily 06/07/2007 page10)