HONG KONG - The Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions must respect the authority of the National People’s Congress, as the people’s congress system is part of the country’s fundamental political system, a top NPC official said on Friday.
Li Fei, deputy secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee and chairman of Basic Law committees of the Hong Kong and Macao SARs, made the remarks at a legal seminar in Macao marking the 18th anniversary of the city’s return to the motherland.
Li said the people’s congress system, which constitutes NPC’s supreme authority over State affairs, is the country’s fundamental political structure. It is implemented nationwide; the Hong Kong and Macao SARs were no exceptions.
The ongoing social debate on the joint-checkpoint arrangement at Hong Kong’s West Kowloon terminus for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link provided a good example, Li said.
When new social developments can benefit the people of the SARs, the NPC, the supreme organ of State power, has to make relevant decisions in accordance with the Constitution and Basic Laws, Li explained.
He said the NPC made the decision that the establishment of the Hong Kong and Macao SARs had to conform with the national Constitution.
When new matters emerge along with the country’s development, the NPC is only obliged to make relevant decisions that are not predicted or explicitly stipulated by existing laws, Li said.
Last December, the NPC Standing Committee decided to endorse the co-location arrangement. It discussed the constitutional basis for the plan. According to the plan, one-fourth of the West Kowloon Station will be designated a Mainland Port Area with national laws applied there.
If Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passes the bill to implement the plan, passengers are expected to enjoy more convenience when going through immigration, customs and quarantine checks; the Hong Kong section of the Express Rail Link will be launched in the third quarter of this year.
Most sections of Hong Kong society welcome the arrangement but it has drawn some criticism over its constitutionality.