The Hong Kong SAR Government and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government co-organised a seminar on the Constitution Day yesterday, with the theme of “The Constitution and ‘One Country, Two Systems’”. The seminar explored the relationship between the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and “One Country, Two Systems”, as well as how to better implement the “One Country, Two Systems” principle in Hong Kong under the framework of the Constitution. I also watched the seminar to deepen my understanding on the topic.
The Constitution is the fundamental law of the state, serving as the overall guiding principle for governance and has the highest legal status and legal effect. The Constitution sets out the constitutional order of our Country and gives the legislative backing and source of power for the Basic Law. The Constitution and the Basic Law together form the constitutional basis of the Hong Kong SAR. The “One Country, Two Systems” principle, the Basic Law and the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR are based on the authorisation by the Constitution.
Article 1 of the Constitution sets out our national system, stating that “The socialist system is the fundamental system of the People's Republic of China. Leadership by the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is prohibited for any organization or individual to damage the socialist system.”
As stipulated in Article 31, “the state may establish special administrative regions when necessary. The systems instituted in special administrative regions shall, in light of specific circumstances, be prescribed by laws enacted by the National People's Congress.”
Article 62 specifies the functions and powers of the National People’s Congress, under which item 14 covers “deciding on the establishment of special administrative regions and the systems to be instituted there”. This provides the constitutional basis for the establishment of the “One Country, Two Systems” institution.
In other words, without the authorisation by the Constitution, the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, the Basic Law and the Hong Kong SAR would not have been established, and the smooth return of Hong Kong to the Motherland in 1997 would not have happened. The Constitution and the Basic Law are the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s rule of Law. By correctly understand the Constitution, we would have a more comprehensive and precise understanding on Hong Kong’s constitutional order and the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”.
From the perspective of the Constitution, to support the constitutional order of the SAR, we shall respect the socialist system of the Country and support the leadership of the Communist Party of China. In fact, the enactment of the National Security Law in Hong Kong and the improvement of the electoral system are all implemented in accordance with the Constitution, which enabled Hong Kong to step out from chaos, restore governance in critical moments and embark on a journey towards prosperity.
The Constitution and the Basic Law enable Hong Kong to capitalise the advantages brought by the “One Country, Two Systems” principle for development in times of stability. They also help Hong Kong to restore social stability and safeguard the overall interest of the society and citizens in times of turmoil. The Constitution and the Basic law enable the successful and steadfast implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and ensure the long term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.
“One Country, Two Systems” is a prominent institutional strength of our Country’s governance system, supporting Hong Kong to firmly and steadily develop since our return to the Motherland. Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR. Although throughout the years, there may have been some hiccups during the implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong has inarguably achieved remarkable development and is progressing towards a more stable and prosperous future.
Amid the changing situation of a century, our Country has been developing steadily and robustly. Hong Kong will continue to play our unique role and proactively contribute our strengths on the path of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. With the guidance and safeguard provided by the Constitution and the Basic Law, and the resolute, full and faithful implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems”, we will be able to integrate into the national development more proactively and pursue a complementary and coordinated development with the Mainland. This will build a better future for Hong Kong and Hong Kong can go hand in hand with our Country to realise our aspirations.
Only by deeply rooted with our County can Hong Kong achieve a continuous development. Only by firmly securing the “One Country” principle can the smooth operation of the “Two Systems” be ensured. The implementation of the “patriots administering Hong Kong” principle provides the basis for Hong Kong’s prosperous development, while the executive-led system will enhance the effectiveness of governance. Your participation is vital for the good governance of Hong Kong. The Legislative Council Election will be held two weeks later, your vote matters and let’s join hand to build a better future for Hong Kong.
5 December 2021