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Saturday, November 5, 2016, 01:18

Expert: NPCSC will clarify meaning of articles in Basic Law

By Luis Liu

HONG KONG - Basic Law expert Song Sio-chong said he expected interpretation of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) will clarify the meanings of certain articles laid out in the Basic Law.

According to the Basic Law Article 104, when assuming office, the Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and of the Legislative Council, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in Hong Kong must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

The NPCSC interpretation may stress that the act of “swearing to uphold the Basic Law” is a solemn one, and people deliberately violating the oath should not be given more chances after a warning

Song Sio-chong, Basic Law expert

Song pointed out several clarifications which an NPCSC interpretation could achieve.

He said the interpretation needs to make it clear that taking the oath is the prerequisite for a person to assume office. Without having taken the stipulated oath, they have no legitimate status and can’t assume office - even though they were elected by voters in an election.

The interpretation may also state clearly what “in accordance with the law” means, and what the consequences will be if people act otherwise.

The oath-taking procedure can’t violate provisions of the Basic Law or relevant local ordinances set up under the Basic Law, and all those who need to take oaths to assume office must follow the official text of the oath, Song said.

The NPCSC interpretation may stress that the act of “swearing to uphold the Basic Law” is a solemn one, and people deliberately violating the oath should not be given more chances after a warning, Song said.

The interpretation may also define “uphold the Basic Law” as demonstrating a consistency in words and deeds over time for oath-taking officials, legislators and judges. This means all remarks and acts they make in public ought to be consistent with the oath they took when assuming office, Song added.

He expects the NPCSC interpretation will clarify what “swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China” really entails.

Even if some voters support behavior and conduct that undermines or goes against the Basic Law or the country, elected lawmakers and officials must pledge allegiance to the country and the SAR, Song stressed.

luisliu@chinadailyhk.com

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