January 7 - 13, 2020


Hong Kong remains resilient

Hong Kong's financial system remains stable and remarkably successful despite the challenges of global economic slowdown, trade disputes among major economies, geopolitical uncertainties and local issues over the past two years, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the 13th Asian Financial Forum (Jan 13). “Our core competitiveness, and our status as one of the world's premier financial centers, continues to be internationally recognized,” said Mrs Lam, who emphasized that Hong Kong, with its strategic regional location and its extensive, ever-deepening cultural and financial links with the Mainland, is China's international financial center, contributing to the sustainable progress of the country, the region and the world. Hong Kong would also enhance its role as the business bridge between the Mainland and the rest of the world through the two national policies of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Financial markets stable

In his keynote luncheon address at the Asian Financial Forum (Jan 13), Financial Secretary Paul Chan highlighted the strengths of Hong Kong as a global financial center underpinned by its solid linked exchange rate system, its fully convertible currency and the free flow of capital. He said these reflected the integrity of the city’s financial system and the confidence it conveys even in face of challenges. Citing Hong Kong’s achievements in the financial services sector, Mr Chan said the city would step up efforts to capitalize on emerging opportunities in green finance and fintech, the Greater Bay Area development and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Fintech Week to be held in November

The fifth Hong Kong Fintech Week will return to Hong Kong and Shenzhen Nov 2-6. The signature cross-boundary Shenzhen day is part of a broader focus on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The run-up to Fintech Week starts with the first-ever FintechHK Startup Salon at the Asian Financial Forum (Jan 13-14). This is a new initiative to help early stage fintech start-ups connect and exchange ideas with potential investors, and to introduce their latest solutions and innovations to conference participants. Last year’s Fintech Week drew more than 12,000 attendees, along with 150 exhibitors and 18 trade delegations.

Hong Kong remains world's top IPO market

Hong Kong retains its crown in the world’s initial public offering league table for the second consecutive year, with the Hong Kong stock exchange raising US$40 billion from 183 newly listed companies last year. This was higher than the US$36.8 billion raised in 2018. This also marked the seventh time in the last 11 years that Hong Kong has topped the ranking table. Stock market capitalization in 2019 reached almost US$4.9 trillion, a 27.6% surge from the previous year’s US$3.8 trillion.


Pledge to uphold judicial independence

Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma said the rule of law is rightly cherished by the community and is the foundation of a cohesive society. "We must do all our best to preserve it and to treasure it because once damaged, this is not something from which our community can easily recover, said Mr Ma at the opening of the 2020 Legal Year (Jan 13). Pledging to uphold judicial independence, Mr Ma said, “Everyone is subject to the law, no one is above it. The duty on the courts to enforce the law is a constitutional requirement of the Basic Law. I can say with confidence that my fellow judges and I will discharge our duties without compromise and without fear.” The Chief Justice said that in the discharge of their responsibilities, judges look only to the letter of the law and to the spirit of the law, and nothing else. Political, economic or social considerations, as opposed to legal considerations, simply do not enter into the equation.

Rule of law upheld

Noting that many of Hong Kong’s core values, including the rule of law, have been under challenge during the past year, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said fair trial and due process are essential elements of the procedural aspects of the rule of law, with the judiciary playing the pivotal role. These are backed by the city’s transparent system of law, and an independent judiciary. Speaking at the ceremonial opening of the 2020 Legal Year (Jan 13), Ms Cheng added that all prosecutorial decisions taken by the Department of Justice are made after taking into account the available evidence, applicable laws and the principles set out in the Prosecution Code. She also highlighted the initiatives taken in 2019, including an inaugural annual Hong Kong Legal Week, and arrangements between Hong Kong and the Mainland in arbitration and intellectual property.


Response to US report

The Hong Kong SAR Government expressed strong opposition to the enactment of the ‘Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act’ in the US. “The Act clearly intervenes in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. It is unwarranted, sends an erroneous signal to violent protesters, and harms the relations and common interests between Hong Kong and the US. The HKSAR Government deeply regretted that the US has disregarded the genuine concerns raised repeatedly by Hong Kong on the Act and let the Act become US law,” said a spokesman (Jan 9), in response to media enquiries to parts of a report related to Hong Kong issued by the United States (Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “Since the return to the Motherland, the HKSAR has been exercising ‘Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong’ and a high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The HKSAR Government will continue to implement the ‘one country, two systems’ principle resolutely in accordance with the Basic Law."


Port health measures boosted

The Hong Kong SAR Government has been strengthening port health measures to tackle the Wuhan-related illness, said Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan (Jan 7). The Department of Health has been working to strengthen measures, particularly at the airport and the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. To strengthen Hong Kong’s capability in monitoring the disease, and in the prevention and control of infectious diseases, Prof Chan added that the Prevention & Control of Disease (Amendment) Regulation 2020 and the Prevention & Control of Disease Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 1) Notice 2020 was gazetted (Jan 8) to include the severe respiratory disease associated with a novel infectious agent as a statutorily notifiable infectious disease.


Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems".

Q: Have the laws previously in force in Hong Kong been maintained?

A: The Basic Law provides that laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law, shall be maintained and adopted as laws of the HKSAR, except for any that contravenes the Basic Law, and subject to any amendment by the HKSAR legislature. (BL Articles 8; 18; 160)

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