Antidemocratic interpretation of the Basic Law


Yesterday, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, made public its interpretation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law. That interpretation undermines Hong Kong’s democracy and autonomy.

According to that interpretation, Hong Kong’s institutions will have no autonomy to initiate reforms regarding the method of selection of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive as well as the method for forming its Legislative Council.

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council will no longer have power to propose reforms. Instead, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive will have to get the approval from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress before initiating any amendments to the selection and formation methods. In practice, this means that Beijing will have a right of veto regarding any democratic reform in Hong Kong.

The rule of law implicates that the interpretation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law should rest with the judiciary, with an independent Court of Law. “The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is a political body, completely dependent on China’s Communist Party. It is not surprising that it serves Beijing’s political objectives regarding the future of Hong Kong”, said Law Yuk-Kai, Director of HKHRM.

“This is a terrible step backwards for democracy in Hong Kong”, said Sidiki Kaba, the President of the FIDH. “Through this interpretation, China blatantly violates the right of Hong Kong’s people to free and fair election, as enshrined in Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in force in Hong Kong since 1976”.

The FIDH and HKHRM urge China to fully respect international human rights law binding on Hong Kong as well as Hong Kong’s people strong demand for universal suffrage.

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