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Top legislature reviews draft interpretation to Hong Kong Basic Law

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-05 22:57

BEIJING -- China's top legislature on Saturday deliberated a draft interpretation to Article 104 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The draft interpretation was submitted to legislators for deliberation at the third plenary meeting of the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which will conclude Monday.

Entrusted by the chairpersons' meeting of the NPC Standing Committee, Zhang Rongshun, vice chairperson of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, delivered an explanation of the draft interpretation, introducing the implication of the legislation and its legal principles.

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, was present at the meeting.

Article 104 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR stipulates: "When assuming office, the chief executive, principal officials, members of the executive council and of the legislative council, judges of courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China."

In the group discussion in the afternoon, legislators believed it is both "timely and necessary" to make an interpretation to the article.

In recent years, advocacy of "Hong Kong independence" has emerged in some sections of Hong Kong society, according to a statement released after the discussion.

The statement said that some people have displayed "Hong Kong independence" flags and established "Hong Kong independence" organizations. They have even pursued violence.

A handful of Hong Kong legislators-elect violated the oath intentionally, publicly advocating "Hong Kong independence" and insulting the Chinese nation at the swearing-in ceremony for the sixth Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong SAR. After their oath-taking was declared invalid, the legislators-elect involved chose to break into the LegCo, making the body unable to hold normal meetings.

"These words and actions have openly challenged the Basic Law, hampered the normal operation of the authorities of the Hong Kong SAR and undermined the rule of law in Hong Kong," the statement said.

"They have hit the bottom line of the 'one country, two systems' principle and posed a grave threat to national sovereignty and security," the statement said.

"If the situation is allowed to continue, the immediate interests of residents in the SAR and the development interests of the nation will be damaged," it said, stressing that the central authorities cannot afford to idly sit and do nothing.

It is in accordance with the rights provided in the Constitution of the nation and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR for the NPC Standing Committee to give a legal interpretation in time, the statement said, adding that the draft interpretation "complies with the provisions in the Constitution and the Basic Law."

Legislators proposed that the interpretation be adopted at the session, according to the statement.

"Those who were present at the discussion agree that the legal interpretation given by the NPC Standing Committee has the same effect as the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR," the statement said.

The legislation implications of the oath at swearing-in and its legal principles explained in the draft interpretation will help make clear the understanding in Hong Kong society, it said.

The draft interpretation is necessary for safeguarding the authority of the Basic Law and maintaining the stability of Hong Kong, it added, calling on the administrative, legislative and judicial organs of the Hong Kong SAR to obey the interpretation.

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