Religion and Basic Law

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 March, 2009, 12:00am

University of Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting identifies several articles in the Basic Law influenced by religious groups. The articles are a legacy of the pre-1997 days, he says, when religious groups were allowed to operate companies and apply for public funding.

'The intention of the Basic Law is to maintain the relationship between government and religious organisations in the pre-Basic Law system,' says Dr Tai. 'If you look back you'll find that religious organisations, particularly Catholic and Protestant churches, were very active in delivering education and social services. Many of the oldest schools are run by churches.'

Articles mentioning religion in the Basic Law: Article 136: Community organisations and individuals may run educational undertakings.

Article 137: Schools run by religious organisations may continue to provide religious education, including courses in religion.

Article 141: The government should not interfere with the internal affairs of religious organisations.

Religious organisations can buy and sell property and seek financial assistance.

Religious organisations may run seminaries and other schools.