Published: 14:50, May 22, 2024 | Updated: 17:53, May 22, 2024
HK lawmakers move to drop references to colonial era
By Atlas Shao in Hong Kong
The Chief Executive's Interactive Exchange Question and Answer Session is held on Jan 25, 2024, at the Hong Kong Legislative Council Complex, in Central, Hong Kong. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

A bill to alter outdated legal wordings like “crown” or “governor” has been submitted to the Legislative Council as part of the city’s efforts to drop references to the colonial era.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government introduced the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2024 to the legislature on Wednesday for its first and second readings after the bill was published in the government gazette on May 10.

Lawmakers will adjourn debate on the bill’s second reading for further review as a customary practice.

The alterations cover technical amendments to terms and wordings left from the colonial era, such as “Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs or successors”, “governor”, “crown”, government of the United Kingdom” and “Secretary of State”

The bill aims to produce a package of amendments and adaptations to several in-force ordinances, especially some provisions and wordings that fail to reflect the HKSAR’s constitutional status.

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The alterations cover technical amendments to terms and wordings left from the colonial era, such as “Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs or successors”, “governor”, “crown”, government of the United Kingdom” and “Secretary of State”.

The bill also proposes amendments that are minor, technical and non-controversial, but are useful in improving the relevant legislation. It would help to keep the laws up-to-date and commensurate with the SAR’s status as a modern society governed by the rule of law under the constitutional framework of “one country, two systems”, a Justice Department spokesperson said.

The Law Reform Commission Secretariat began a systematic review of Hong Kong’s statutory laws in 2022 to examine whether laws that were enforced before July 1, 1997 -- when the city returned to the motherland -- are consistent with the Basic Law and Hong Kong’s status as a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, and properly reflect the policy intent of relevant government departments.

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Earlier this year, the Department of Justice briefed the LegCo Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services on the major legislative proposals to be included in the bill. The SAR government has also consulted stakeholders about the proposed changes and has not received any objections from them, the department said.

atlasshao@chinadailyhk.com