Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in the Legislative Council today (February 19):
It has been reported that the Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council indicated on December 19 last year that the arrangements for the Chief Executives (CEs) of Hong Kong and Macao to pay duty visits to Beijing to report on their work were to be standardised, and that duty visits in future would be completed by December 19 each year. He added, "We have to specify clearly what areas should be covered by duty visits. Instead of focusing only on the achievements made in the past year, now we also require the identification of inadequacies as well as the inclusion of the new plans for the year ahead." He also stressed that during the duty visits, CEs would also need to report on the progress made and problems encountered in the thorough implementation of the Basic Law. Regarding the arrangements for duty visits of the CE of Hong Kong to the Central Authorities, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the modes and circumstances of the duty visits made by the CEs of the previous terms; whether the Government has received any demand from the Central Authorities in the past for standardising and changing the modes and contents of CE's duty visits; whether the current-term Government has ascertained why the Central Authorities require the standardisation of CE's duty visits; if it has, of the details;
(2) of the details of the standardisation of CE's duty visits; whether the duty visit in December last year was made in accordance with the latest standards; whether the authorities have carried out a review of any inadequacy in last year's governance; if they have, of the conclusion, and whether such conclusion was reported to the Central Authorities during that duty visit; and
(3) whether it has assessed if the Central Authorities' requirement for the standardisation of CE's duty visits will have an impact on the implementation of policies by the Government under the principle of "one country, two systems", and will arouse public concern that the Central Authorities interfere in Hong Kong's internal affairs; if the assessment outcome is in the affirmative, whether the authorities have relayed it to the Central Authorities, and how they allay such public concern?
In consultation with the Chief Executive's Office, the Administration's consolidated reply to the questions raised by the Hon Frederick Fung is as follows:
Pursuant to Article 43 of the Basic Law, the Chief Executive (CE) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) shall be accountable to the Central People's Government (CPG) and HKSAR in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law.
HKSAR is a special administrative region established by the People's Republic of China in accordance with Article 31 of the Constitution. Article 43 of the Basic Law provides that the CE of the HKSAR shall be the head of the HKSAR and shall represent the HKSAR, and shall be accountable to the CPG and HKSAR in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law. Article 48 also provides that CE shall lead the government of HKSAR; be responsible for the implementation of the Basic Law and other laws which, in accordance with the Basic Law, apply in the HKSAR; implement the directives issued by the CPG in respect of the relevant matters provided for in the Basic Law; and conduct, on behalf of the Government of the HKSAR, external affairs and other affairs as authorised by the Central Authorities. Under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" and the provisions of the Basic Law, CE has special and important constitutional role. Accordingly, CE regularly reports to CPG on the work of the HKSAR Government and the situation of HKSAR.
Since assumption of office, CE has been making detailed, comprehensive, objective and truthful reports to state leaders on the situation of HKSAR and the work of the HKSAR Government. State leaders have fully affirmed the work of CE and the HKSAR Government. As in previous duty visits, CE met and informed the media of the developments of his visit during his stay in Beijing in December last year.
The arrangement of CE's report to CPG is in line with the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" and the provisions of the Basic Law. It does not constitute any interference in Hong Kong's internal affairs by the Central Authorities. CE will, as always, strictly comply with the provisions of the Basic Law. He will continue to uphold the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, lead the HKSAR Government to govern Hong Kong in accordance with the law and be accountable to CPG and HKSAR.
Ends/Wednesday, February 19, 2014