China Top Office in Hong Kong Declares Itself Not Bound by Basic Law

A global pandemic is always a great time of distraction so you can start doing this sort of thing…..

China’s top representative office in Hong Kong said Friday it is entitled to get involved in Hong Kong affairs and is not subject to the semi-autonomous city’s constitutional restrictions that bar the Chinese government from interfering in local affairs.

The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration promised Hong Kong “a high degree of autonomy” under the “one country, two systems” principle for at least 50 years after China resumed sovereignty in 1997.  The Basic Law, the city’s post-handover mini-constitution, mandates that the mainland Chinese government cannot interfere in its affairs.

However, the China liaison office said in a strongly worded statement issued late Friday that “a high degree of autonomy is not complete autonomy.” It said Hong Kong’s right to self-govern is “authorized by the central government” and “the authorizer has supervisory powers over the authorized.”

Both the liaison office and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office — China’s top bodies overseeing the city’s affairs — are “authorized by the central authorities to handle Hong Kong affairs,” it said.  It added that it is entitled to supervise affairs in Hong Kong and make statements on issues on Hong Kong’s relationship with Beijing, ranging from the “correct” implementation of the Basic Law to matters pertaining to the overall interests of society.

“This is not just responsibilities but authority granted by the [Chinese] constitution and Basic Law,” the statement said. “How else can these two bodies promote the implementation of ‘one country two systems’ in Hong Kong? The legitimacy and legality are beyond doubts.”

“They are not what is referred to in Article 22 of the Basic Law, or what is commonly understood to be ‘departments under the Central People’s Government,’” the statement said.

Article 22 states that “no department” of the Chinese central and local governments “may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administers on its own in accordance with this Law.”

The statement from the liaison office came a couple of days after its new chief, Luo Huining, appointed in January, told Hong Kong to urgently enact national security legislation to tackle what he called radical violence, foreign interference and pro-independence forces in the city, apparently referring to the monthslong, sometimes violent anti-government demonstrations sparked by a controversial extradition bill in June last year.

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