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Monday, November 7, 2016, 09:17

Top envoy: Beijing will not allow separatists into LegCo

By Luis Liu

Top envoy: Beijing will not allow separatists into LegCo
Residents rally in Wan Chai Sunday to show their support for the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to interpret Article 104 of the Basic Law. (Edmond Tang / China Daily)

Beijing will never allow separatist activists to enter Hong Kong’s legislature, the central government’s top envoy in the city said.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Central People’s Government’s Liaison Office in the Hong Kong SAR, stressed Beijing’s firm stance at a briefing session on Sunday to Hong Kong members of the nation’s top legislature and political consultative body on the ongoing deliberation of a possible interpretation over an article of the city’s Basic Law.

The move over Article 104 — in relation to swearing-in procedures of senior public officers, lawmakers and judges in the SAR — is expected to clear political gridlock and stop separatists from paralyzing the Legislative Council’s operations.

The central government is resolute in curbing the ‘Hong Kong independence’ notion...

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Central People’s Government’s Liaison Office in the Hong Kong SAR

After a revision over the draft interpretation, a vote on the matter is likely to come today (Monday) before the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) meetings close in Beijing.

Zhang said the NPCSC interpretation is necessary as separatism advocacy in LegCo has touched on the bottom line of the central government’s “One Country, Two Systems” policy for the SAR.

“The central government is resolute in curbing the ‘Hong Kong independence’ notion and will never allow separatists to become legislators in the city,” Zhang said.

Zhang stressed the interpretation is in accordance with the city’s legal system and the NPCSC’s responsibility to interpret the Basic Law.

Article 158 of the Basic Law says “the power of interpretation of the Basic Law should be vested in the NPCSC”. Through interpretations, the nation’s top legislature clarifies the exact and original meaning of certain terms or articles.

Responding to doubts over the impact on the city’s judicial system, Zhang said the NPCSC’s making interpretations of the Basic Law is also part of the city’s legal system. Proven by real practices, previous interpretations were of great necessity and had not changed the city’s independent judiciary and rule of law, Zhang said.

Zhang also explained the timing of the swift action—as a relevant case at local court is still ongoing — saying it would take a long time for the local judiciary to process the case which would create uncertainty and continue the violence in LegCo.

Zhang said Beijing was prepared for local protests organized by some radicals and separatism supporters. However, the central government had made up its mind to face the conflicts in order to resolve the controversy as the incident concerns the country’s fundamental interest.

The move was triggered after two separatist lawmakerselect — Sixtus Leung Chunghang and Yau Wai-ching — altered their LegCo oaths and used offensive language to insult the nation during their swearing-in on Oct 12.

“The central government is resolute in curbing the ‘Hong Kong independence’ notion...”

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Central People’s Government’s Liaison Office in the Hong Kong SAR

luisliu@chinadailyhk.com

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