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Monday, November 14, 2016, 01:23

NPCSC acted to save Hong Kong: Zhang

By Willa Wu

The central government’s top representative in Hong Kong has defended last week’s interpretation of the Basic Law by the nation’s top legislature as “necessary and well within the power of the central authorities”.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR, said the interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) on Nov 7 will effectively halt provocations by separatists in the Legislative Council and prevent further harm being done to Hong Kong.

Hailing the people of Hong Kong for showing firm opposition to the separatists’ conduct, Zhang said he was pleased to see the interpretation having won resounding support from the public

The interpretation is not case-specific, he said, but does clarify that senior Hong Kong officials, lawmakers and judges must adhere to the statutory wording of their oath, and treat their pledge to the country and the SAR sincerely and solemnly.

The interpretation was necessary in the wake of the uproar created by two separatist lawmakers-elect who took their oaths in a way intended to heap scorn on the nation.

Speaking at the Pui Kiu Middle School’s 70th anniversary dinner on Saturday, Zhang also rejected claims that the interpretation has damaged the city’s judicial independence, saying they are misguided.

The unruly swearing-in ceremony took place on Oct 12, when several lawmakers-elect altered the stipulated wording of the oaths, used derogatory language to insult the nation, shouted political slogans and presented objects and accessories promoting “Hong Kong independence”.

Zhang said their behavior represented a serious violation of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the Basic Law of the HKSAR and other laws and ordinances in the city. The words and deeds of separatist advocates have threatened national sovereignty and security, and if the issues are not resolved in a timely manner, it will lead to “endless troubles” for Hong Kong, he warned.

Hailing the people of Hong Kong for showing firm opposition to the separatists’ conduct, Zhang said he was pleased to see the interpretation having won resounding support from the public.

He also noted that the NPCSC empowers Hong Kong courts with the right to interpret the Basic Law, but that does not supersede or restrict the NPCSC’s authority to interpret the law. Judicial independence remains a key component of the high degree of autonomy that Hong Kong enjoys, he said.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen’s birthday on Nov 12, Zhang encouraged students to follow the example set by Sun, also known as the father of modern China and the champion of national integrity. He urged schools to enhance patriotic education and make patriotism an important part of the value system imparted to students.

willa@chinadailyhk.com

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