ASIA/HONG KONG - Prayers and freedom of expression at peaceful rally on July 1 anniversary of Hong Kong hand- over to China: Basic Law fundamental for Hong Kong

Friday, 2 July 2004

Hong Kong (Fides Service) - The citizens of Hong Kong held a democratic rally, prayed in silence exercising the right sanctioned in Basic Law, Constitution of Hong Kong, in force since the hand-over from Britain to China on July 1 1997. According to Basic Law, based on “one country two systems” Chinese national social systems and policies cannot be put into practice in the Special Administration Region of Hong Kong. The free market system and life style of the former colony are guaranteed by Basic Law for the next 50 years and cannot be changed. The Constitution was drafted by a joint team of representatives from Hong Kong and mainland China.
Here are some points of the Basic Law (see text link):

Art 2: Hong Kong has autonomy of executive, legislative and judiciary power;
Art 18: National laws shall not be applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region except for those listed in Annex III to this Law. The laws listed therein shall be applied locally by way of promulgation or legislation by the Region;
Art 22 : No department of the Central People's Government and no province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administers on its own in accordance with this La;
Art 27-28: personal freedom is inviolable, in all its forms: thought, expression, press, assembly, conscience, religious belief, demonstrations, form trade unions call strikes;
Art 109: in the economic field Hong Kong is an independent district at the level of international finance;
Art. 136-147: policies regarding education, culture, technological research are autonomous;
This why on the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the hand over of Hong Kong to China on July 1, in an article in the diocesan newspaper Sunday Examiner the Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong, Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun explained that the participation of Catholics in the rally was a “peaceful protest”.
The Bishop said that looking at the situation in Hong Kong, “in these seven years since the return to China, it does not take much to see that fundamental values like justice and compassion have been seriously compromised in our beloved city”.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 2/7/2004 lines 28 words 223)