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HK chief executive says SAR gov't to fully implement top legislature's Basic Law interpretation

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-07 16:02

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Monday that he and the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government support and will fully implement the interpretation passed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) concerning oath-taking by public officers specified in Article 104 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR.

Accompanied by Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam, Leung told a press conference that as the chief executive of the SAR, he has the duty to implement the Basic Law in accordance with Article 48 of the Basic Law.

Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China and the Hong Kong people have the duty to uphold national unity, territorial integrity and security, as well as the dignity and interests of the Chinese people, he said.

"I am certain the Hong Kong community will agree that every LegCo member has the duty 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, and to fully implement the constitutional arrangements and legal requirements under 'one country, two systems'."

Certain elected members of the current-term Legislative Council (LegCo), including Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, deliberately violated the oath-taking procedure and content requirements of the oath. They even insulted the country and the Chinese people in their words and deeds in the oath-taking, as well as advocated "Hong Kong independence," he said, noting that their conduct has caused widespread indignation in Hong Kong and across the country.

The SAR government considers that their conduct seriously undermines the rule of law and deals a heavy blow to "one country, two systems," said the official.

On Oct 18, the SAR government commenced legal proceedings in the court, requesting the court to rule that Leung and Yau have failed to fulfill the legal requirements and should be disqualified as LegCo members in accordance with Article 104 of the Basic Law, the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, as well as previous court rulings of related cases.

At its meeting in Beijing earlier on Monday, in accordance with the requirements of Article 67(4) of the Constitution and Article 158(1) of the Basic Law, the NPCSC issued its interpretation and clear explanations concerning oath-taking by public officers specified in Article 104 of the Basic Law, including LegCo members, when assuming office, said the chief executive.

It is an important part of the constitutional and legal systems of HKSAR for the NPCSC to exercise its power conferred by the Constitution and the Basic Law to interpret provisions of the Basic Law, he explained.

The interpretation is intended to ensure that public officers specified in Article 104 of the Basic Law, when assuming office and taking oath in accordance with law, must read out the oath as prescribed in the law, including "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 an accurate, complete and solemn manner, said Leung.

The interpretation has clarified that any oath taken in a manner that is not sincere or solemn is considered a "decline" to take an oath, and that the oath taken is rendered invalid. As such, the person taking the oath is regarded as having forthwith lost his or her qualification for the corresponding public office and they therefore cannot assume such public office, nor exercise his or her duties or enjoy the corresponding benefits of the office, he noted.

The interpretation clearly explains the meaning of Article 104 of the Basic Law and the consequences of contravening the provision, he said, adding that it also explains clearly the requirements for oath-taking by specified public officers.

Any words or deeds that deliberately contravene the above requirements, defy the prescribed oath-taking procedure, or even use the opportunity to insult the country and the Chinese people, and advocate secession must be stopped in accordance with the law, the official added.

Leung and Yau, two elected members of the LegCo, deliberately used curse words insulting the Chinese nation and the country when reading out the oath at a swearing-in on Oct. 12. Their oath was not accepted by the LegCo's oath supervisor.

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China adopts interpretation to Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR

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