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No.4, 2021
2021/03/13

China’s Top Legislature Adopts Decision on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

On March 11, 2021, the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, adopted a decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The decision is another major step taken by the state to improve the HKSAR's legal and political systems since the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR was adopted in June 2020.

Since China resumed exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong more than two decades ago, the implementation of "one country, two systems" has been a monumental success. HKSAR has enjoyed a high degree of administrative, legislative and economic autonomy.

Yet over the past years, the anti-China, destabilizing forces and radical localists in Hong Kong have manipulated the electoral system to enter the governance structure of the HKSAR, pushed for their secessionist agenda, and repeatedly challenged the central government's authority. Those moves have crossed the bottom line of "one country, two systems." In the meantime, hostile overseas forces have intensified their efforts to stoke "color revolutions" in this Chinese city, seeking to turn it into an outpost to contain China's development.

Under such circumstances, necessary measures must be taken to improve the electoral system and remove existing institutional risks so as to ensure that Hong Kong is administered by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body.

The decision has nine articles:

-- Improving the electoral system of the HKSAR must fully and faithfully implement the policy of "one country, two systems" under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, uphold the constitutional order in the HKSAR as established by the Constitution and the Basic Law, ensure the administration of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body, effectively improve the governance efficacy of the HKSAR, and safeguard the right to vote and the right to stand for election of permanent residents of the HKSAR.

-- The HKSAR shall establish an Election Committee which is broadly representative, suited to the HKSAR's realities, and representative of the overall interests of its society. The Election Committee shall be composed of 1,500 members.

-- The Chief Executive shall be elected by the Election Committee and appointed by the Central People's Government.

-- The Legislative Council of the HKSAR shall be composed of 90 members in each term.

-- A candidate qualification review committee of the HKSAR shall be established. The committee shall be responsible for reviewing and confirming the qualifications of candidates for the Election Committee members, the Chief Executive, and the Legislative Council members.

-- The NPC Standing Committee is authorized to, in accordance with the decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR, amend Annex I: Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Annex II: Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Its Voting Procedures, to the Basic Law.

-- In accordance with the decision and the Basic Law's Annex I and Annex II amended by the NPC Standing Committee, the HKSAR shall amend relevant local laws, and organize and regulate election activities accordingly.

-- The Chief Executive of the HKSAR shall submit in a timely manner reports to the Central People's Government on relevant important situations including the institutional arrangements for elections of the HKSAR and the organization of the elections.

-- The decision shall go into effect as of the date of promulgation.

As the highest body of state power, the NPC has the power and responsibility enshrined in the Constitution and the Basic Law to make decision on improving HKSAR's electoral system. It will better uphold the overall and fundamental interests of the Hong Kong society, contribute to the constant progress of Hong Kong's democratic system and the steady practice of “One Country, Two Systems”. (End of Item)

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