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The Decision of the National People's Congress on Improving the Election System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 October 2021

Simon N.M. Young*
Affiliation:
Simon N.M. Young is Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong and a practicing barrister with Parkside Chambers.

Extract

In 2021, Hong Kong's electoral system underwent its most significant reform since the People's Republic of China (PRC) resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997. By a decision adopted on March 11, 2021 to “improve the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and develop a democratic system suited to the actual situation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” (HKSAR), the National People's Congress (NPC) decided to amend the methods of selecting the Chief Executive of the HKSAR and forming the Legislative Council of the HKSAR (LegCo). The existing Election Committee would be reformed and given a pivotal role in the elections of the Chief Executive and LegCo members. A new candidate qualification review committee would be established to qualify all candidates. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) was empowered to amend the first two annexes of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Basic Law), which specify the methods for selecting the Chief Executive and forming the LegCo. The HKSAR would amend local election laws to implement the reforms and organize future elections in accordance with the law. The Chief Executive would submit timely reports to the Central People's Government. The NPC Decision was adopted with 2,895 votes in favor and one abstention.

Type
International Legal Documents
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The American Society of International Law

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References

1 Decision of the National People's Congress on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Adopted at the Fourth Session of the Thirteenth National People's Congress on Mar. 11, 2021).

2 Basic Law, 29 I.L.M. 1511 (1990).

3 See, NPC Hong Kong Electoral Reform Decision, NPC Observer, https://npcobserver.com/legislation/npc-hong-kong-electoral-reform-decision.

4 Annex I: Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Amended at the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Thirteenth National People's Congress on Mar. 30, 2021); Annex II: Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Its Voting Procedures (Amended at the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Thirteenth National People's Congress on Mar. 30, 2021).

5 See NPC Observer, “Hong Kong Basic Law”, https://npcobserver.com/legislation/hong-kong-basic-law.

6 Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021, No. 17 of 2021, Apr. 13, 2021.

7 Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Ordinance 2021, Ord. No. 14 of 2021, May 31, 2021, s. 1. See also the LegCo website, “Bills Committee on Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021”, https://www.legco.gov.hk/yr20-21/english/bc/bc105/general/bc105.htm.

8 Tony Cheung and Lilian Cheng, All Hong Kong opposition lawmakers quit following camp's vow to resign en masse over Beijing resolution, South China Morning Post (Nov. 12, 2020).

9 Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and The Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, Dec. 19, 1984, U.K.T.S. 1984 No. 26, reprinted in 23 I.L.M. 1366 (1984).

10 Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Regarding Annex I (7) and Annex II (III) of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Adopted at the 8th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People's Congress on Apr. 6, 2004).

11 Wang Chen (Vice Chairman of the NPCSC), “Explanations on the Draft Decision of the National People's Congress On Improving the Electoral System of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”, Fourth Session of the 13th National People's Congress (Mar. 5, 2021), p. 6.

13 See Simon N.M. Young and Richard Cullen, Electing Hong Kong's Chief Executive (2010).

14 See Functional Constituencies: A Unique Feature of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (Christine Loh & Civic Exchange eds., 2006).

15 Electoral Affairs Commission, Report on the 2017 Chief Executive Election, Jun. 16, 2017, Appendix II.

16 Electoral Affairs Commission, Report on the 2012 Legislative Council Election Held on 9 September 2012, Nov. 22, 2012, Appendix V.

17 Electoral Affairs Commission, Report on the 2016 Legislative Council General Election, Dec. 2, 2016, Appendix IV.

18 Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2007 and for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2008 (Adopted at the 9th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People's Congress on Apr. 26, 2004).

19 Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2012 and on Issues Relating to Universal Suffrage (Adopted by the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People's Congress at its 31st Meeting on Dec. 29, 2007).

20 Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by Universal Suffrage and on the Method for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2016 (Adopted by the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People's Congress at its Tenth Session on Aug. 31, 2014).

21 Simon NM Young, Rethinking the Process of Political Reform in Hong Kong, 45 HKLJ 381 (2015).

22 See also the HKSAR Government's A Layman's Guide to the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021, https://www.cmab.gov.hk/improvement/filemanager/content/pdf/en/resource-centre/Electoral-Leaflet.pdf.

23 Wang Chen, supra note 11, p. 2.

24 See also the recently enacted Public Offices (Candidacy and Taking Up Offices) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2021, Ord. No. 13 of 2021, which provides further guidance on oath compliance.

25 “Candidate Eligibility Review Committee convenes its first meeting,” The Standard, Jul. 14, 2021.

26 Wang Chen, supra note 11, pp. 3-4.

27 Id. p. 3.

28 Id.

29 Id. p. 2.

30 Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, Legislative Council Brief: Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021, Apr. 13, 2021, ¶ 3 [hereinafter LegCo Brief].

31 Wang Chen, supra note 11, p. 2.

32 Id. p. 5.

33 LegCo Brief, supra note 30, ¶86.

34 Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance, 30 I.L.M. 1310 (1991). See Simon N.M. Young, Political System Transformation in Hong Kong, Verfassungsblog (Apr. 13, 2021), https://verfassungsblog.de/political-system-transformation-in-hong-kong.

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