Explanations on the Draft Decision of the National People’s Congress On Improving the Electoral System of
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Presented by Wang Chen
Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of The National People’s Congress
At the Fourth Session of the 13th National People’s Congress
5 March 2021
Entrusted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), I hereby make the following explanations about the Draft Decision of the National People’s Congress on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
I. The imperative and importance of improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR
The return of Hong Kong to the motherland put the region once again under the overall governance system of the country. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China jointly form the constitutional basis of the Hong Kong SAR. The electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR, which includes the methods for the selection of the Chief Executive and for the formation of the Legislative Council, is an important part of the political structure of the Hong Kong SAR. The electoral system should conform to the policy of One Country, Two Systems, meet the realities in the Hong Kong SAR and serve to ensure “patriots administering Hong Kong”. It should be conducive to safeguarding China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests and help maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. Since Hong Kong’s return, the State has all along fully and faithfully implemented the policy of One Country, Two Systems under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, and has run Hong Kong affairs according to law, upheld the constitutional order in the Hong Kong SAR as established by the Constitution and the Basic Law, supported the development of democracy in the SAR and guaranteed the exercise of democratic rights by residents of the SAR in accordance with the law. However, it must be noted that in recent years, especially after the turbulence over the amendment bill in 2019, anti-China, destabilizing forces and radical localists in Hong Kong have openly called for “Hong Kong independence”. They used the electoral platforms of the Hong Kong SAR and the deliberation platforms of the Legislative Council and the District Councils or their position as public servants to blatantly carry out anti-China and destabilizing activities. They resorted to every possible means to paralyze the functioning of the Legislative Council and obstruct the law-based administration of the SAR government. They masterminded and perpetrated the so-called “primary election”, in an attempt to obtain a majority in the Legislative Council so that they could step further to grab the power to administer Hong Kong. Some foreign countries and external forces, by way of their own legislative bills or administrative means and through their consular agencies and NGOs in the Hong Kong SAR and other channels, blatantly meddled with Hong Kong affairs. They also grossly imposed so-called “sanctions” on the relevant Chinese personnel and flagrantly emboldened and covered those anti-China, destabilizing forces in Hong Kong. These activities seriously jeopardized the constitutional order and the order of rule of law in the Hong Kong SAR. They posed a grave challenge to the authority of the Constitution, the Basic Law and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR. Such activities put China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests into serious jeopardy and severely disrupted social stability of the Hong Kong SAR. They must be resolutely opposed, and forceful measures must be taken to prevent and defuse risks arising therefrom.
The rioting and turbulence that occurred in the Hong Kong society reveals that the existing electoral system in the Hong Kong SAR has clear loopholes and deficiencies, which the anti-China, destabilizing elements jumped on to take into their hands the power to administer the SAR. To remedy the situation, it is important to take necessary steps to improve the electoral system and remove existing institutional deficiencies and risks to ensure the administration of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body. This in turn will ensure effective and law-based administration in the SAR and keep the implementation of One Country, Two Systems always on the right track.
Back in June 1984, Mr. Deng Xiaoping pointed out that there must be “some requirements or qualifications with regard to the administration of Hong Kong affairs by the people of Hong Kong. It must be required that patriots form the main body of administrators”. According to him, “A patriot is one who respects the Chinese nation, sincerely supports the motherland’s resumption of exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, and wishes not to impair Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.” Hong Kong has been a Chinese territory since ancient times. The Hong Kong SAR is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China, a local administrative region with a high degree of autonomy that directly comes under the Central People’s Government. “Patriots administering Hong Kong” is a necessary requirement of the One Country, Two Systems policy. All provisions in the Basic Law regarding Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and those working in the executive authorities, the legislature and the judiciary reflect the principle of Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with patriots as the main body. It is stipulated that the Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and of the Legislative Council, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in the Hong Kong SAR must uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR of the People’s Republic of China. In a decision released in October 2019, the fourth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee called for upholding and improving the system and institutions of One Country, Two Systems, improving the SAR’s institutions and mechanisms related to the implementation of the Constitution and the Basic Law, and upholding the administration of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body. On 27 January 2021, when listening to a 2020 work report from Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR, President Xi Jinping noted that Hong Kong’s major shift from chaos to stability once again testifies to the unfailing truth that to ensure the steady practice of One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong in the long run, we must always uphold the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. This is a fundamental principle crucial to the sovereignty, security and development interests of our country and crucial to the sustained prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. Only when the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” is observed can the Central Authorities’ overall jurisdiction over the SAR be effectively implemented, the constitutional order as established by the Constitution and the Basic Law be effectively maintained, and the various deep-seated problems be effectively resolved. Only in this way can Hong Kong achieve durable stability and make its due contributions to realizing national rejuvenation. The electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR, including the methods for the selection of the Chief Executive and for the formation of the Legislative Council, must strictly follow and fully reflect the political principle and criterion of the administration of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body and provide institutional safeguards for this purpose.