The recent contentious debate over whether the central government’s liaison office and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) are circumscribed by Article 22 of the Basic Law has prompted suggestions of enhancing deeper understanding of the mini-constitution. Following the government’s three contradictory statements on the constitutional position of the Beijing agency, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Cheuk-wah eventually stated that the liaison office is not restricted by the clause and the office’s latest criticisms didn’t amount to interference. Cheng’s clarification contrasts sharply with previous government papers that said the liaison office is bound by Article 22. According to the clause in question, “no department of the Central People’s Government” shall interfere in Hong Kong affairs. The liaison office has long been considered a “department” of the central government based on a literal interpretation of this clause. But noted Beijing loyalists have said Article 22 should not be interpreted from a superficial standpoint. 42 civil servants suspended over protest arrests, with ‘no guilt presumed’ However, with a text that is open to interpretation, it would be pointless to merely enhance knowledge of the Basic Law, as the original intention could be explained in favour of a particular political stance. A case in point is the difference in the reading of the term “one country, two systems” between Hong Kong and Beijing. The former would highlight the importance of “two systems” while the latter would assert that “one country” must be the prerequisite of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. The implication seems to be Hongkongers must not encroach upon the Communist Party’s authority or risk their basic human rights being curtailed. Will weight of ‘one country’ bring down the scaffolding of ‘two systems’? By this logic, the only way for Hongkongers to accurately grasp the Basic Law would be to prioritise national security and the national interest. And strengthening “Basic Law education” would mean inculcating nationalism and purging from our mind the “ Western ” value of “democracy”. Gary Lam, Sheung Shui Crisis highlights need for pandemic contingency plan I am writing in response to “ Coronavirus: Hong Kong government wants to create 30,000 jobs in technology, health care and welfare sectors ” (April 10). The government is going all out to lower the unemployment rate and rejuvenate the city’s economy , which has suffered greatly from the coronavirus crisis. These efforts are commendable, but it should have had a contingency plan in place to help companies and workers earlier, as financial and economic crises are a cyclical occurrence. Since it did not have such a plan, many companies have had to close down or lay off workers. With better planning, the badly hit small and medium-sized companies might have received more timely help. Separately, as the article reported, some private doctors complained of being left out in the government’s rescue plan. They really should understand that public money is limited and that no policy is perfect or can fulfil everybody’s desires. Besides, doctors earn good money, so it is appropriate that they should require less help from the government, or at least wait longer for help. Helping low-income workers is the more urgent task at hand. Wong Lok Him, Tai Ping Shan Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.