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Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 15:19

Beijing envoy criticized irresponsibly: CE


HONG KONG - Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has dismissed criticism of recent remarks by Beijing's top envoy in the SAR Zhang Xiaoming, saying that Zhang had been quoted out of context.

Speaking to the press before an Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, he said Zhang had never said the CE's power overrode that of Hong Kong's Legislative Council or the judiciary, calling criticism of Zhang’s remarks "irresponsible".

In a seminar on Saturday to mark the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law, Zhang, the Director of the Central Government's Liaison Office in the HKSAR, said the city’s CE enjoyed a special legal status and was like a bridge between the Central Government and the three branches of the city government - the executive, legislative and the judiciary. He also said "separation of powers" was not entirely applicable to Hong Kong's political system because only sovereign states enjoyed such separation of powers.

What Zhang referred to about CE's status was the system, including Hong Kong's political institution and law, but not a particular person, Leung said.

Leung also said he strongly agreed with Zhang that Hong Kong enjoyed judicial independence, pointing out that Zhang had underscored that twice in his Saturday’s speech.

Leung said his administration and himself had always upheld judicial independence, and had never interfered with the judiciary.

He said Zhang's critics had not been fair, as some criticism had been levelled before Zhang's speech was published by people who were not present at the event.

Leung also said Hong Kong could not forcefully apply the principle of "separation of powers".

He explained that given the provision of "a high degree of autonomy", Hong Kong as a local government, had no absolute executive or legislative powers. He added that Western countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, took different approaches to upholding "separation of powers" as per local ground realities.

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