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Liaison office of central gov't in HKSAR welcomes passage of district councils bill

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-07-07 09:38
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HONG KONG -- The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Thursday welcomed passage of the District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2023, noting that the district councils (DCs) system reform has a solid legal basis and extensive support.

A spokesperson for the office stressed that the reform of the system is a return to the original intention of the Basic Law of the HKSAR and embodies the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong," which is of great significance for improving district governance efficiency and the governance system of the HKSAR.

According to Article 97 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the DCs are not organs of political power, and their main function is to be consulted by the HKSAR government or to be responsible for providing services. However, during a considerable period, especially during the social unrest in 2019, anti-China disruptors used loopholes in the system to turn the DCs into a platform for obstructing the government's administration, promoting separatism and violence, attempting to subvert the regime and confront the central authorities, which completely deviates from the district council's intended role, said the spokesperson.

To ensure the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, the public recognizes that only by returning to the original intention of the Basic Law of the HKSAR, reforming and restructuring the DCs, firmly implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong," and effectively implementing the executive-led system, can national security and the public interests of Hong Kong residents be effectively safeguarded, the spokesperson added.

The HKSAR Legislative Council (LegCo) unanimously passed the District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2023 on Thursday. A coalition backing the reform previously collected over 1.6 million signatures from Hong Kong residents in support of the overhaul. Over 80 percent of respondents in a poll agreed with the reform proposal and believed that it could enhance district governance capabilities. The HKSAR government also received over 20,000 emails, of which over 90 percent expressed support for the reform, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that the fact shows the reform proposal is in line with public expectations, expressing belief that the new-term DCs will undoubtedly become a strong supporting force for the government in carrying out community-level governance, assist the government in enhancing district governance efficiency, address urgent and difficult livelihood issues of residents, and vigorously promote the well-being of the people.

"We believe that with joint efforts of the HKSAR government and all sectors of the society, Hong Kong will surely have brighter prospects of advancement from stability to prosperity," the spokesperson noted.

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