LCQ4: Criteria for a patriot
Following is a question by the Hon Szeto Wah and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 3):
Official media in the Mainland have recently re-published the remarks made by Deng Xiaoping in 1984, which mentioned the standards required of "patriots", and that "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" should mean the administration of Hong Kong affairs by "Hong Kong people, with patriots forming the main body of administrators". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it has assessed:
(a) whether the people who initiated and participated in the procession on July 1 last year are "patriots";
(b) whether members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and the people who participate in the candlelight vigil held in memory of the June 4th Incident every year are "patriots"; and
(c) whether, in order to ensure the administration of Hong Kong affairs by "Hong Kong people, with patriots forming the main body of administrators", it is necessary to amend the existing legislation on elections to subject the candidates for the elections of the Chief Executive or Legislative Council Members to political vetting and benchmark tests for patriots?
On the question put by the Honourable Szeto Wah, we set out our overall reply as follows:
On parts (a) and (b) of the question, in June 1984, when meeting a delegation of the Hong Kong industrial and business community visiting Beijing and a group of Hong Kong community leaders, Mr Deng Xiaoping affirmed that the Chinese people in Hong Kong would be capable of running Hong Kong well. In doing so, he emphasized that "Hong Kong people running Hong Kong" meant that Hong Kong should be managed by Hong Kong people, with patriots forming the main body. The criteria for a patriot are to respect one's own nation, sincerely support the resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong by the Motherland, and not to do any harm to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.
One point must be made clear. "Hong Kong people running Hong Kong" as mentioned here refers to the principle that we should rely on Hong Kong people, with patriots forming the main body, to manage Hong Kong. This refers to people who have a part to play in the administration of Hong Kong's public affairs, not the Hong Kong public in general. However, we consider that the vast majority of the people of Hong Kong are patriotic.
On part (c) of the question, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Basic Law, we enacted the Legislative Council Ordinance and the Chief Executive Election Ordinance in 1997 and 2001 respectively. Since the reunification, we have conducted two elections of the Legislative Council (LegCo) and one election of the Chief Executive (CE) according to these ordinances. We will continue to conduct such elections in accordance with the Basic Law and these ordinances.
Furthermore, Article 104 of the Basic Law requires that when assuming office, the CE and LegCo Members must swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
Ends/Wednesday, March 3, 2004