CPPCC praises ‘positive’ decision to interpret Hong Kong’s Basic Law

Chairman of top political advisory body lists as an achievement the ruling that led to pro-independence lawmakers being disqualified

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 March, 2017, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 March, 2017, 12:49am

For the first time, China’s top political advisory body has listed supporting the National People’s Congress interpretation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law as a major achievement in its annual work report, as it underlined how delegates had spoken “positively” for it.

The unprecedented reference came as Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, on Friday delivered his report to start the nation’s two-week annual parliamentary sessions.

In listing the major achievements of the past year, Yu singled out the CPPCC’s support for the NPC to ­intepret Article 104 of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution to disqualify two newly elected lawmakers who distorted their oath-taking with pro-independence slogans and insults against the nation.

The NPC had already – and each time, controversially – interpreted the city’s Basic Law four times before the latest intervention. However, the CPPCC had never mentioned these interpretations in its previous work reports.

Turning to national affairs in his address, Yu, the fourth-ranking official in the Communist Party’s Standing Committee, also hailed as a major achievement the enhancement of members’ “political consciousness” in abiding with the party leadership headed by President Xi Jinping at the core.

He also stated that the CPPCC would hold meetings to advise on supply-side reform, the hallmark of Xi’s economic policy, and build up “clean and close” relations between the government and private businesses. It, he said, would also help boost national pride through cultural events and forge dialogue with ethnic minorities and religious groups to contribute to the social stability.

The annual marathon “two sessions” – of the CPPCC and the country’s top legislature – began with the usual pomp and ceremony as 2,000 delegates, ­including 200 from Hong Kong, gathered in the capital. In attendance was Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the city’s outgoing leader who is to be elevated to a vice-chairman’s post at the closing session on March 13, making him an elder statesman.

As he wrapped up his account of the CPPCC’s work, Yu said the body had “supported delegates in speaking up positively” for the interpretation.

On the major tasks ahead, Yu said organising a successful event to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China would be a major work objective for its members.

“We will ... organise for young people to visit the mainland on study trips and experience for themselves, so as to strengthen the love of both the regions and country among the people of Hong Kong and Macau,” he said.

CPPCC delegate Eliza Chan Ching-har said the mention of the interpretation was “quite special”.

“The issue involves national sovereignty and security, and the NPCSC had taken the initiative to defend the country’s fundamental interest,” she said.

On the sidelines, Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of the Nanjing military area command, said Beijing should “eliminate both Hong Kong and Taiwan pro-independence activists”.

“Beijing is too tolerant to them,” he said.