Younger HK experts needed on Basic Law

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

The Basic Law Committee urgently needs to recruit younger Hong Kong experts on the mini-constitution and study the legislative intent of the Basic Law provisions, a veteran panel member says.

Maria Tam Wai-chu said there was a lack of understanding of the Basic Law among Hong Kong people, particularly the provisions concerning the relationship between the central government and the special administrative region.

Ms Tam, who has served on the committee since the handover, said a new generation of mainland legal experts on the Basic Law had emerged in the past few years.

Rao Geping, a law professor at Peking University, and Wang Zhenmin, deputy dean of Tsinghua University's law school, were among the four new mainland members appointed last month to the 12-member panel which advises the National People's Congress Standing Committee on the mini-constitution.

Professor Wang, 40, and Professor Rao, 58, are much younger than the mainland members they replaced.

'However, there are not many younger legal experts on the Basic Law in Hong Kong,' said Ms Tam, who is also a Hong Kong drafter of the mini-constitution.

Albert Chen Hung-yee, 47, is the youngest among the six Hong Kong committee members while Ng Hon-mun is the eldest at 79. The average age of the Hong Kong members is 63.

Ms Tam, 60, said the committee should strive to recruit younger experts in the next few years. The five-year term for the committee members is due to expire in 2008. 'One of the crucial tasks of the incumbent committee members will be passing their knowledge about the drafting process of the Basic Law and the legislative intents of its provisions to the new members.'

Ms Tam attributed controversies surrounding interpretations of the Basic Law to a lack of 'correct understanding'.