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Friday, March 05, 2021, 11:54
Improving HK electoral system on NPC agenda
By Zhang Yangfei in Beijing and Chen Zimo in Hong Kong
Friday, March 05, 2021, 11:54 By Zhang Yangfei in Beijing and Chen Zimo in Hong Kong

The National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, will deliberate on a draft decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the fourth session of the 13th NPC, said on Thursday.

Zhang said at a news briefing that the NPC, as the country’s supreme organ of State power, has the authority and responsibility to make a decision at the constitutional level to improve the electoral system of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s situation in recent years has shown that the region’s electoral system needs to keep pace with the times and undergo improvements

He said Hong Kong’s electoral system is an important part of the region’s political structure. Hong Kong’s situation in recent years has shown that the region’s electoral system needs to keep pace with the times and undergo improvements to provide sound institutional safeguards for the full and accurate implementation of “one country, two systems” and the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”, he added.

The deliberation will take place during the annual gathering of China’s top lawmakers starting Friday. Details of the draft decision will be released later.

READ MORE: China's top legislature to hold session from March 5 to 11

“To ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of ‘one country, two systems’, we must always adhere to the principle of ‘patriots governing Hong Kong’. This principle is fundamental to national sovereignty, security and development interests as well as the long-term prosperity of Hong Kong,” a spokesman for the HKSAR government said after the NPC news briefing.

“Only through ‘patriots governing Hong Kong’ can the central government’s overall jurisdiction over the HKSAR be effectively implemented, the constitutional order as set out by the Constitution and the Basic Law be effectively safeguarded and the long-term stability and safety of Hong Kong be achieved,” he added.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said the decision, if passed by the NPC, will demonstrate the central government’s leading role in implementing thoroughly the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”, as well as its determination and will to rectify the political chaos in the SAR.

Zhang’s use of “keep pace with the times” is because the region has seen hostile forces both locally and externally becoming increasingly rampant since its return to China over the past two decades, causing damage and threats to the city’s prosperity and stability as well as national security, Lau said.

Improving the electoral system and ensuring “patriots governing Hong Kong” will effectively help prevent anti-China forces and disrupters from entering the political structure and wreaking havoc, he added.

Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, called for improvements in Hong Kong’s electoral system at a symposium last week to ensure “patriots governing Hong Kong”, which he said is the essence of “one country, two systems”.

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He said chaos in Hong Kong in recent years has seen anti-China disrupters and radical Hong Kong separatists enter the governance structure of Hong Kong through various elections, including the Legislative Council, the Chief Executive Election Committee and District Councils, and wield their political power to resist the central government and incite discontent toward the Chinese mainland, he said.

The unrest is mostly due to the failure to fully implement “patriots governing Hong Kong”, revealing loopholes in local electoral systems that should be plugged, he added.

Contact the writers at zhangyangfei@chinadaily.com.cn

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