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Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 09:32
HK justice department stresses independence of judiciary
By China Daily
Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 09:32 By China Daily

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's Department of Justice stressed Monday that the independence of the judiciary is respected and upheld in the special administrative region (SAR) while urging against unwarranted speculation on the content of a draft legislation on national security tabled in the National People's Congress (NPC).

The justice department's statement came after Xie Feng, commissioner of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in HKSAR, assured in a briefing on Monday  that HK's judiciary would remain independent under the new legislation

In a press release issued Monday evening, a spokesperson for the department said, "Article 2 of the Basic Law clearly stipulates that the HKSAR enjoys executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. Article 85 also states that the HKSAR courts shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference. The independence of the Judiciary is respected and upheld in the HKSAR."

READ MORE: Full text of Commissioner's speech on draft legislation

The justice department's statement came after Xie Feng, commissioner of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in HKSAR, assured in a briefing on Monday  that HK's judiciary would remain independent under the new legislation. 

“The legislation will not change the one country, two systems policy, Hong Kong’s capitalist system, high degree of autonomy, nor will it change the legal system in Hong Kong SAR, or affect the independent judicial power, including the right of final adjudication exercised by the judiciary in Hong Kong,” Xie told representatives of consular corps, chambers of commerce, international organizations and the press.

ALSO READ: National security, HK affairs brook no external interference

The justice department said in the statement that national security is outside the limits of the autonomy of the HKSAR but a matter under the purview of the central authorities. As such, according to the press release, under "Article 23 of the Basic Law, HKSAR is authorised to legislate national security laws, however, it does not preclude the Central Authorities from legislating at a national level for national security".

The department also said that given that the details of the national security law to be enacted by the NPCSC and introduced to Annex III of the Basic Law to be promulgated by the HKSAR "are not yet made public at this stage, it is inappropriate for anyone to make unwarranted speculations on the content of the legislation".

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