The new milestone for governance and prosperity
With the passage of the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021, which comprises 8 principal ordinances and 24 subsidiary legislations, by the Legislative Council (LegCo) last week, the National People's Congress’s decision in March to improve the electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR is implemented to plug the loopholes in the existing electoral legislation. The implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong last year, the subsequent establishment of the oath-taking arrangement for public officers, together with the lately completed amendments to the electoral system, aim at fully implementing the basic principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” and establish Hong Kong’s political order on the legal and institutional level. It ensures all public officers could uphold a set of basic common values, including fully supporting the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” and the Basic Law, respecting the constitutional order of the Hong Kong SAR, protecting the Country’s sovereignty, security, development interest and Hong Kong’s long term prosperity and stability. By clearly setting out the requirements for political participation on the system level, it established a new electoral system that more suits the actual situation of Hong Kong and allows for wide participation, facilitating the creation of a stable environment for good governance.
The aforementioned measures ensure the successful and steadfast implementation of the institutional arrangement of “One Country, Two Systems” and facilitate a more robust development for Hong Kong with our institutional uniqueness and strengths consolidated and enhanced. Under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, the Basic Law protects the implementation of capitalism and common law system, independent judiciary, free flow of capital, free convertibility of currency, and independent taxation system in Hong Kong. With our historical development and these institutional strengths, Hong Kong has become a hub, as well as a highly effective “two-way” platform, drawing talents and capital from overseas and the Mainland.
As learned from Hong Kong’s development path, while we have to stay open to the global community, our fundamental interest is closely tied with our Country. Hong Kong’s future prosperity and opportunities will depend on how well we could integrate into our Country’s development plan. With the implementation of the 14th Five-year Plan and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area strategy in full steam, Hong Kong could grasp the enormous opportunities in innovation and technology and financial services development, and also developing as an international aviation hub, a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, an international legal, dispute resolution services and regional intellectual property trading centre.
Our neighbouring cities have been going through high-speed development in recent years and offer abundant opportunities. Yet Hong Kong over the past decade left us an impression of stalemate in development. In particular, the endless political disputes and the non-functioning of the LegCo had hampered our governance effectiveness. In the latter half of 2019, serious violent and illegal acts, as well as the advocation of separatism and Hong Kong independence dealt a serious blow to Hong Kong’s law and order, rule of law and the investment environment. The implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong and the improvement to the electoral system could help stop and correct the past social chaos, and establish a new order of “patriots administering Hong Kong” on the system level, restoring a socially safe, politically stable and lawful environment for Hong Kong.
Under the new electoral system, with the “executive-led” political system strengthened and the Government’s governance capability enhanced, our society will be able to focus on tackling social, economic and livelihood issues, including complicated long problems such as land and housing. The reality is that, with the restoration of political order, different sectors of the society are having a high expectation on the dealing of those deep-seated issues which have hindered the development of Hong Kong for long time. The SAR Government has to unite different sectors of the society to work together to solve the problems.
Since the implementation of the National Security Law in 2020, Hong Kong has quickly restored its governance from the state of chaos. Right now, while fighting against the epidemic remains our primary task, it is also crucial for us to well organise the coming three important elections. At the same time, we have to make use of the new political environment and dedicate efforts with innovative ideas to tackle the deep-seated problems. Learning from the experience of reforms in this two years, even if facing with complicated and intractable systematic issues, with the right assessment of the nature of the problems, innovative ways to formulate solution based on the Country’s and Hong Kong’s interests, detailed planning as well as implementation with determination, problems could be fixed eventually. 2021 will be marked as a new milestone for Hong Kong’s transformation from chaos to governance, and gradually towards development and prosperity.
May 30, 2021