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LCQ14: Implementation and promotion of Basic Law

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Lam Tai-fai and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in the Legislative Council today (May 13):


     This year marks the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law. In connection with the implementation and promotion of the Basic Law, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has assessed if the Central People's Government (CPG) is satisfied with the implementation of the Basic Law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR); if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) given that Article 23 of the Basic Law stipulates that SAR shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, etc, of the reasons why the SAR Government still has no specific timetable for enacting laws to implement this provision so far; whether it has assessed the risks to national security of not having such laws enacted yet; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) whether it has assessed if any foreign forces have attempted to sabotage the effective implementation of the Basic Law since the reunification and hence have affected its efforts to promote constitutional reform and implement universal suffrage for the selection of the Chief Executive (CE), etc; if it has made such an assessment, of the details; if it has not, the reasons for that;

(4) given that a member of Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress has earlier proposed that attending national studies courses on the Mainland should be made an entry requirement for prospective teachers, whether the authorities will adopt such a proposal or require teachers to pass a special pre-employment examination on the Basic Law; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(5) whether, prior to CE nominating and reporting to CPG for appointment of principal officials under the accountability system, the authorities will assess such persons' understanding of the Basic Law, establish a regular mechanism to conduct the relevant assessments or evaluations on them after their assumption of office, and provide them with systematic training in this respect; and

(6) given that some District Council members, Legislative Council Members and Executive Council Members are often alleged to have different understanding of certain provisions of the Basic Law, whether the Government will provide training for them to ensure that they have a consistent understanding of the provisions of the Basic Law; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     In consultation with the Education Bureau (EDB) and the Security Bureau, our consolidated reply to the questions raised by the Dr Hon Lam is as follows:

     The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (the Basic Law) is the constitutional document for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), enshrining in legal form the basic policies of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy and prescribing the systems practised in the HKSAR. Since the establishment of the HKSAR, the Central Government has been acting in strict accordance with the fundamental principles and policies of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, as well as the provisions of the Basic Law, to support the Chief Executive and the HKSAR Government in administering Hong Kong in accordance with law. Similarly, the HKSAR Government has also been administering the affairs of Hong Kong in strict accordance with the "one country, two systems" principle and the Basic Law.

     As regards the enactment of Article 23 of the Basic Law (BL23), the HKSAR is constitutionally obliged under BL23 to enact laws for national security. The HKSAR Government administers in accordance with the Basic Law. However, we do not have any plan to enact laws in respect of BL23 for the time being.

     Constitutional development of Hong Kong is an internal matter for the HKSAR and an internal affair for China, in which foreign governments should not interfere. We hope foreign governments will respect our position. Regarding the question on external forces, the Chief Executive has already responded in various occasions. The HKSAR Government has nothing further to supplement.

     The EDB plays an active role in promoting Basic Law education and continues to organise professional development programmes for primary and secondary school teachers in order to enhance teachers' understanding of the concepts and essence of the Basic Law. These courses cover curriculum planning, learning and teaching, use of learning and teaching resources, and knowledge enrichment, and aim to facilitate the implementation of Basic Law education in schools and enhance curriculum leadership and teaching effectiveness. The EDB always respects academic freedom in the aspect of initial teacher training. Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) design initial teacher training courses in line with the needs of the society, students and the profession. The EDB also communicates with TEIs on matters related to teacher professional development and training, through meetings to ensure their course planning aligned with the needs of policy development. Pre-service teachers may also acquire knowledge of current affairs and development of the country through joining various exchange programmes and activities. In addition, the EDB also produces different learning packages, on-line assessment banks and on-line resources to support student learning of the Basic Law.

     The Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee (BLPSC) established by the HKSAR Government in January 1998 provides the steer on the overall programme and strategy for promoting the Basic Law, and coordinates the efforts of Government departments and various sectors in the community in taking forward the Basic Law promotion activities. The BLPSC and its five working groups also organise various promotion activities and invite people from all walks of life to attend these events, in order to enable more in-depth understanding of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law by different strata and sectors in the society.

Ends/Wednesday, May 13, 2015