Central gov't agency, liaison office have power to supervise major affairs in HK: liaison office



The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Friday refuted the distortion of the HKSAR Basic Law that recent comments by a central government agency and the liaison office are interference in Hong Kong, and stressed that the two offices have the power to supervise major affairs in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the liaison office condemned some Legislative Council (LegCo) members for maliciously filibustering and paralyzing the LegCo for personal political gains earlier this week, which was intentionally twisted as interference from the central government in Hong Kong affairs, a spokesperson of the liaison office said.

The spokesperson said in a statement that the two offices are empowered to supervise major issues concerning relations between the central government and the Hong Kong SAR, the correct implementation of the Basic Law, the normal operation of the political system, and the overall interests of society on behalf of the central government, as well as express its concern and attitude.

"This is not only a requirement for performing duties but also a power endowed by the Constitution and the Basic Law," the spokesperson said, stressing that it does not go against the Article 22 of the Basic Law.

The central government is committed to the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, but a high degree of autonomy does not mean a full autonomy, the spokesperson said, noting that the high degree of autonomy, including the legislation, stems from the central government, which accordingly can supervise the exercise of such power.

Dennis Kwok Wing-hang and some other lawmakers repeatedly and maliciously filibuster to obstruct the election of the chairman of the LegCo's House Committee, leaving a large number of bills closely related to people's livelihood unable to be discussed, which harmed the interest of Hong Kong residents and violated the legal responsibility that the HKSAR lawmakers should shoulder according to the Basic Law, the spokesperson said.

As the LegCo cannot perform its constitutional responsibility and the HKSAR political system cannot operate, the central government cannot sit idly and must exercise the power of supervision, which is the requirement to govern Hong Kong according to the law, to ensure Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, and to safeguard the interests of residents, the spokesperson said.

Kwok has violated his oath of upholding the Basic Law and allegiance to the HKSAR when taking office, and is also likely suspected of committing misconduct in public office, the spokesperson said.

The negative effect of malicious filibustering has emerged.

Legal experts have pointed out that an array of bills related to people's well-being have not been discussed in time, including those on taxpayers, the disabled, house supply and public health. The bill on tax concessions alone concerns 1.91 million taxpayers and 145,000 tax-paying corporations or unincorporated businesses.

With the session of the LegCo due to end in three months, bills that have not been discussed will become invalid, resulting in huge losses to Hong Kong residents.

The spokesperson also said the central government fully respects Hong Kong's independent judiciary and final adjudication written into the Basic Law and the procedures of appointing judges, and has never interfered in the trial of cases by Hong Kong courts.

Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal, said on Wednesday that he has not at any stage encountered or experienced any form of interference by the mainland authorities with judicial independence in Hong Kong since taking office in 2010, including the appointment of judges.

HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam said earlier this week that it is legitimate for the central government to express their concern and it is the act of some LegCo members who urged foreign governments to impose sanctions on Hong Kong that should be called interference.

Echoing Lam's words, the spokesperson condemned some opposition figures of Hong Kong, who begged foreign governments to interfere in Hong Kong affairs and incited them to cancel Hong Kong's special status as an independent economic entity, restrict exports of high-tech products to Hong Kong, and pass the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

The spokesperson said they blatantly betrayed the national interests and broke the bottom line of "one country, two systems."

When HKSAR LegCo members take office, they all pledge to uphold the Basic Law and be loyal to China's HKSAR, which means loyalty to the country is an inevitable requirement, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson warned those opposition lawmakers to stop harming the interests of Hong Kong and national security for personal gains, otherwise, they will eventually pay the price.