Establishment of the Special Administrative Region System in Hong Kong

The Information Office of the State Council, or China's Cabinet, issued a white paper on the practice of the "one country, two systems" policy in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Establishment of the Special Administrative Region System in Hong Kong

The system of the special administrative region, as prescribed in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, is a special administrative system developed by the state for certain regions. Under this system, the central government exercises overall jurisdiction over the HKSAR, including the powers directly exercised by the central government, and the powers delegated to the HKSAR by the central government to enable it to exercise a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the law. The central government has the power of oversight over the exercise of a high degree of autonomy in the HKSAR.

1. The Central Leadership Directly Exercises Jurisdiction over the HKSAR in Accordance with the Law

As prescribed in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the organs of power by which the central leadership directly exercises jurisdiction over the HKSAR are the NPC and its Standing Committee, the president of the state, the Central People's Government, and the Central Military Commission. The NPC decided on the establishment of the HKSAR, formulated the Basic Law of the HKSAR to prescribe the system to be instituted in the HKSAR, and has the power of amendment to the Basic Law. The NPC Standing Committee has the power of interpretation regarding the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the power of decision on revising the selection methods of the chief executive and the Legislative Council of the HKSAR, the power of supervision over the laws formulated by the legislative organs of the HKSAR, the power of decision on the HKSAR entering a state of emergency, and the power of making new authorization for the HKSAR. The HKSAR comes directly under the Central People's Government, and its chief executive is accountable to the Central People's Government. The Central People's Government appoints the chief executive and the principal officials, is responsible for foreign affairs relating to the HKSAR in accordance with the law, and issues directives to the chief executive. The Central Military Commission is the leading body of the Hong Kong garrison, and performs defense and other duties. The central authorities perform overall jurisdiction and constitutional duties as prescribed in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and in the Basic Law of the HKSAR, and exercise effective administration over the HKSAR.

-Forming the power organs of the HKSAR. Prior to the return of Hong Kong, the Preparatory Committee of the HKSAR completed the organization of the Selection Committee of the First Government of the HKSAR. The Selection Committee elected Tung Chee-hwa as the first chief executive of the HKSAR, and then the Central People's Government appointed him as the chief executive. The Selection Committee also elected members of the interim Legislative Council. The first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, appointed the judges of the Court of Final Appeal, and the chief justice of the High Court. The completion of the above work ensured the effective administration of the HKSAR by the central leadership upon its establishment. After the return of Hong Kong to China, the Central People's Government appointed Tung Chee-hwa, Donald Tsang and Leung Chun-ying, all elected, as chief executives of the HKSAR in that order, and appointed and dismissed key officials of their administrations. China's state leaders attended the inauguration ceremonies of the chief executives and key government officials, and heard them take their oaths of office.

-Supporting and guiding the administration of the chief executive and government of the HKSAR in accordance with the law. The chief executive reports his/her work to the central government on an annual basis, on the implementation of the Basic Law and other items for which he/she is accountable to the central government; and the state leaders give guidance to the chief executive on major matters related to the implementation of the Basic Law. The central government has established the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council as an administrative office of the State Council to handle Hong Kong and Macau affairs. The office works to implement the "one country, two systems" principle and related directives of the central government, and is responsible for communicating with the government of the HKSAR. The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR is a resident organ of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong. Its duties involve communication with the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR and the PLA Hong Kong Garrison, the promotion of exchanges and cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland in various areas, communication with personages from all sectors of Hong Kong society, and the handling of affairs involving Taiwan.

-Responsible for foreign affairs involving the HKSAR. First, the central leadership supports the HKSAR in actively carrying out international exchanges and cooperation; supports and assists the HKSAR in participating in international organizations and conferences in a proper capacity; assists the HKSAR in bidding to host important international conferences of various kinds, and supports the HKSAR in developing international conference centers, regional legal services and dispute settlement centers; supports the recommendation of Hong Kong residents to take up posts in international organizations; supports the promotion of visa waivers for HKSAR passport holders in other countries and regions; and supports the work of trade offices of the HKSAR government in other countries and regions. Second, the role of the central leadership also includes properly handling legal issues involving Hong Kong, such as the application of international conventions in Hong Kong. The number of multilateral treaties and amendments that have become applicable in the HKSAR now exceeds 170, and the number of agreements concluded with other countries with the authorization of the central government regarding investment protection, civil aviation, taxation and judicial assistance has reached 338. The central government assists the HKSAR in accepting reviews on the implementation of international conventions, supports it in maintaining and developing ties, and in signing and implementing treaties and agreements with other countries, regions and related international organizations in the name of "Hong Kong, China" in the areas of economy, trade, finance, maritime transport, communications, tourism, culture and sports. It also authorizes and assists Hong Kong in conducting judicial cooperation with other countries. Third, it ratifies the establishment of consulates and other governmental or quasi-governmental organizations of foreign countries in the HKSAR. Currently, there are 66 consulates-general set up by foreign countries under related agreements in the HKSAR, with 73 honorary consuls. Fourth, it strives to ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Hong Kong compatriots while in other countries, and actively offers consular protection to Hong Kong travelers abroad. By the end of 2013, Chinese embassies and consulates overseas had handled over 10,000 cases of consular protection involving Hong Kong residents. Fifth, it prevents foreign forces from interfering in Hong Kong's affairs. Hong Kong's affairs are internal affairs of China, and the Chinese government has made timely representations with certain countries through diplomatic channels regarding their words and actions of interference. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established the Office of the Commissioner in the HKSAR to attend to foreign affairs involving Hong Kong.

[ Editor: Jack ]