February 06, 2007

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The not-so-Basic Law

Just back from a lovely weekend visiting sunny, albeit cold, Harbin. The snow and ice festival is an absolute must see. Just avoid Helen the tour guide.

On the plane back I had the opportunity to read the China Daily, and in particular an editorial by former HK justice secretary Elsie Leung, explaining it is time for Hong Kongers to learn the Basic Law. After lamenting that many Hong Kongers don't understand the Basic Law, perhaps because it isn't so basic, it turns out it's all very simple:

A paradigm shift is required for Hongkongers to accept China's sovereignty over Hong Kong. Under the British rule, they were governed by the sovereign of a nation to which they did not belong. There was the subconscious repulsion toward the sovereignty. Since nationalism was not encouraged under colonial rule, Hong Kong people would have to find their new identity as Chinese citizens after reunification. Many of them do not understand what sovereignty entails.

Some people mistake "a high degree of autonomy" to mean that apart from defense and foreign affairs, Hong Kong should have the final say in every matter. The fact is, if you look at the Basic Law, it is clear that the central government, as the sovereign from whom all administrative, legislative and judicial powers are derived and delegated to Hong Kong by the National People's Congress (NPC), has a role in Hong Kong's affairs...

The duty to record carries with it the right to examine the validity of the law and the proposal respectively. This means the Standing Committee has the power not to record if the law is not in conformity with the Basic Law. The powers of interpretation and amendment of the Basic Law are vested in the Standing Committee of the NPC and the NPC respectively. These provisions are to ensure the implementation of the Basic Law in accordance with the basic policies of the PRC toward Hong Kong.

In other words there's no need for those pesky courts or believing what's written on the piece of paper, because at the end of the day the good folks in Beijing can clarify for us misguided, stupid Hong Kongers what means what and when. This is why Beijing can "re-interpret" at will. Taken to its logical conclusion, there is in fact no reason for an SAR to exist at all.

And you wonder why 85% of Hong Kongers don't understand the Basic Law.

The same paper also explains why those mainlanders planning to have their one baby should be considerate and not have babies during the forthcoming Year of the Pig.

posted by Simon on 02.06.07 at 12:04 PM in the Hong Kong category.


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So after all, there was justification for the 'exodus' before and after the handover (at least to get a foreign passport if not settle down in the host country), as Hong Kongers have known all along that there would never be a true meeting of the minds between them and communists on the concept of rule of law.

posted by: Legolas on 02.08.07 at 03:44 AM [permalink]

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