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basic law

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: Under the Basic Law, what is the role of China's People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong?

A1: The maintenance of public order in the HKSAR is the responsibility of the HKSAR Government. The People's Liberation Army stationed in the HKSAR is responsible for the defense of the HKSAR and does not interfere in the local affairs of the HKSAR. In addition to abiding by national laws, members of the garrison shall abide by the laws of the HKSAR. Expenditure for maintaining these military forces is borne by China's Central People’s Government. (BL Article 14)

Q2: What does the Basic Law say about democratic development in Hong Kong ?

A2:  The Basic Law sets out the blueprint for the democratic development of the HKSAR. The method for selecting the Chief Executive and forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in light of the actual situation in the HKSAR and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the election of the Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. In this regard, the NPC Standing Committee made a decision on December 29, 2007, on a clear timetable for implementing universal suffrage in Hong Kong: universal suffrage may be implemented for electing the Chief Executive in 2017 and, following that, all members of the Legislative Council may be returned by universal suffrage. On August 31, 2014, the NPC Standing Committee further adopted a decision that formally determined that universal suffrage for the Chief Executive election through “one person, one vote” could be implemented starting from 2017, and sets out a clear framework on the specific method for selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. (BL Articles 45; 68; Annexes I and II)  


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