Date
11 December 2017
Wang Zhenmin (third from right) says the powers stipulated in the Basic Law come from the national constitution. Photo: HKEJ
Wang Zhenmin (third from right) says the powers stipulated in the Basic Law come from the national constitution. Photo: HKEJ

Wang Zhenmin: Basic Law stems from national constitution

Wang Zhenmin, legal head of Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said on Monday that the relationship between the nation’s constitution and Hong Kong’s Basic Law, is like that of a “mother and son”, meaning China’s constitution can be applied in Hong Kong, without needing to be included in its mini constitution.

Speaking at a seminar to mark National Constitution Day, Wang said the powers stipulated in the Basic Law stem from the national constitution, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

As such, the national constitution can be applied in Hong Kong, without the need to be added to Annex III of the Basic Law, Wang said.

He said the core of the constitution is leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and no one can ever say that the party leads the nation but not Hong Kong and Macau.

Talking about political color, Wang said Hong Kong had changed to “red” since its return to China on July 1, 1997.

His remarks came after Wang Zhimin, director of Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, posted an article on its website on Sunday, saying the constitution is the legal basis and the utmost legal protection of the “one country, two systems” principle.

The constitution’s validity in Hong Kong originates from Article 31, which stipulates that the state may establish special administrative regions when necessary and the systems to be instituted in such regions shall be prescribed by law enacted by the National People’s Congress in light of specific conditions, and the Basic Law, according to Wang Zhimin.

“Denying such validity is denying the Basic Law’s validity in Hong Kong as the constitution and the Basic Law are inseparable,” the article said.

“Even though the socialist system does not apply to Hong Kong, the city still must respect and acknowledge the state’s implementation of the system according to the constitution.”

It added that the constitution has “resumed its validity in Hong Kong along with the central government’s comprehensive jurisdiction since Hong Kong returned to China.”

Basic Law Committee member Professor Albert Chen Hung-yee of the faculty of law at the University of Hong Kong said that although some articles in the constitution are not directly implemented in Hong Kong, that does not mean they are not effective or they can be ignored by Hongkongers.

As “one country” comes before “two systems”, Hong Kong people must acknowledge the legitimacy of the socialist system in the mainland, Chen said.

Commenting on Wang Zhimin’s article, Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu questioned if he really knows what the “one country, two systems” principle means. Lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, also of the Civic Party, urged Wang to spend more time listening to Hong Kong people and understanding their mindset.

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