The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems.” Under this principle, socialist policies of mainland China are not practiced in the HKSAR.
The Basic Law provides the guarantees to maintain Hong Kong’s existing way of life, including socioeconomic development, the rights and duties of Hong Kong people, the rule of law and other areas.
The Basic Law was put into effect July 1, 1997.
Q1: Are mainland China laws applicable to Hong Kong?
A1: Article 18(2) of the Basic Law provides for application of national laws in the HKSAR. Such national laws as applied in the HKSAR shall be listed in Annex III to the Basic Law. Currently, a total of 12 national laws are so listed in Annex III, all of which concern matters outside the limits of the HKSAR's autonomy. They include resolutions and laws on the capital, calendar, national anthem, national flag, national day, national emblem, territorial sea and contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, nationality, garrisoning, diplomatic and consular privileges and immunities and judicial immunity of assets of foreign central banks. (BL Article 18; Annex III)
Q2: Have Hong Kong’s capitalist system and way of life been preserved?
A2: The Basic Law provides that the capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged. Hong Kong maintains a free and open market economy with a free flow of capital, goods, intangible assets, and a freely convertible currency. People’s lifestyle remains the same as before. (BL Articles 5; 112; 115)