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Hong Kong - Constitution Index Page Document Table of Contents

    { Adopted on: 4 April 1990 }
    { Effective since: 1 July 1997 }
    { ICL Document Status: 4 April 1990 }

 
PreambleLong_Preamble
Hong Kong has been part of the territory of China since ancient times; it was occupied by Britain after the Opium War in 1840.  On 19 December 1984, the Chinese and British Governments signed the Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong, affirming that the Government of the People's Republic of China will resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong with effect from 1 July 1997, thus fulfilling the long-cherished common aspiration of the Chinese people for the recovery of Hong Kong.
Upholding national unity and territorial integrity, maintaining the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and taking account of its history and realities, the People's Republic of China has decided that upon China's resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will be established in accordance with the provisions of Article 31 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, and that under the principle of "one country, two systems", the socialist system and policies will not be practised in Hong Kong.  The basic policies of the People's Republic of China regarding Hong Kong have been elaborated by the Chinese Government in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
In accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the National People's Congress hereby enacts the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, prescribing the systems to be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in order to ensure the implementation of the basic policies of the People's Republic of China regarding Hong Kong.11
 

Chapter I  General Principles

 
Article 1
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China.
 
Article 2
The National People's Congress authorizes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, in accordance with the provisions of this Law.
 
Article 3
The executive authorities and legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be composed of permanent residents of Hong Kong in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Law.
 
Article 4
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall safeguard the rights and freedoms62 of the residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and of other persons in the Region in accordance with law.
 
Article 5
The socialist system and policies shall not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.
 
Article 6
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall protect the right of private ownership of property in accordance with law.
 
Article 7
The land and natural resources within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be State property.  The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be responsible for their management, use and development and for their lease or grant to individuals, legal persons or organizations for use or development.  The revenues derived therefrom shall be exclusively at the disposal of the government of the Region.
 
Article 8
The laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law shall be maintained, except for any that contravene this Law, and subject to any amendment by the legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 9
In addition to the Chinese language, English may also be used as an official language by the executive authorities, legislature and judiciary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 10
(1) Apart from displaying the national flag and national emblem of the People's Republic of China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may also use a regional flag and regional emblem.
(2) The regional flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a red flag with a bauhinia highlighted by five star-tipped stamens.
(3) The regional emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a bauhinia in the centre highlighted by five star-tipped stamens and encircled by the words "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China" in Chinese and "HONG KONG" in English.
 
Article 11
(1) In accordance with Article 31 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the systems and policies practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, including the social and economic systems, the system for safeguarding the fundamental rights and freedoms of its residents, the executive, legislative and judicial systems, and the relevant policies, shall be based on the provisions of this Law.
(2) No law enacted by the legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall contravene this Law.
 

Chapter II  Relationship between the Central Authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

 
Article 12
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be a local administrative region of the People's Republic of China, which shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy and come directly under theCentral People's Government.
 
Article 13
(1) The Central People's Government shall be responsible for the foreign affairs relating to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
(2) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China shall establish an office in Hong Kong to deal with foreign affairs.
(3) The Central People's Government authorizes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to conduct relevant external affairs on its own in accordance with this Law.
 
Article 14
(1) The Central People's Government shall be responsible for the defence of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
(2) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be responsible for the maintenance of public order in the Region.
(3) Military forces5255 stationed by the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for defence shall not interfere in the local affairs of the Region.  The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, when necessary, ask the Central People's Government for assistance from the garrison in the maintenance of public order and in disaster relief.
(4) In addition to abiding by national laws, members of the garrison shall abide by the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
(5) Expenditure for the garrison shall be borne by the Central People's Government.
 
Article 15
The Central People's Government shall appoint the Chief Executive and the principal officials of the executive authorities of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in accordance with the provisions of Chapter IV of this Law.
 
Article 16
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be vested with executive power.  It shall, on its own, conduct the administrative affairs of the Region in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Law.
 
Article 17
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be vested with legislative power.
(2) Laws enacted by the legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record.  The reporting for record shall not affect the entry into force of such laws.
(3) If the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, after consulting the Committee for the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under it, considers that any law enacted by the legislature of the Region is not in conformity with the provisions of this Law regarding affairs within the responsibility of the Central Authorities or regarding the relationship between the Central Authorities and the Region, the Standing Committee may return the law in question but shall not amend it.  Any law returned by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress shall immediately be invalidated.  Thisinvalidation shall not have retroactive effect, unless otherwise provided for in the laws of the Region.
 
Article 18
(1) The laws in force in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be this Law, the laws previously in force in Hong Kong as provided for in Article 8 of this Law, and the laws enacted by the legislature of the Region.  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.
(2) The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress may add to or delete from the list of laws in Annex III after consulting its Committee for the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the government of the Region.  Laws listed in Annex III to this Law shall be confined to those relating to defence and foreign affairs as well as other matters outside the limits of the autonomy of the Region as specified by this Law.
(3) In the event that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress decides to declare a state of war or, by reason of turmoil within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which endangers national unity or security and is beyond the control of the government of the Region, decides that the Region is in a state of emergency, the Central People's Government may issue an order applying the relevant national laws in the Region.
 
Article 19
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be vested with independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication.
(2) The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall have jurisdiction over all cases in the Region, except that the restrictions on their jurisdiction imposed by the legal system and principles previously in force in Hong Kong shall be maintained.
(3) The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall have no jurisdiction over acts of state such as defence and foreign affairs.  The courts of the Region shall obtain a certificate from the Chief Executive on questions of fact concerning acts of state such as defence and foreign affairs whenever such questions arise in the adjudication of cases.  This certificate shall be binding on the courts.  Before issuing such a certificate, the Chief Executive shall obtain a certifying document from the Central People's Government.
 
Article 20
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may enjoy other powers granted to it by the National People's Congress, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress or the Central People's Government.
 
Article 21
(1) Chinese citizens who are residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be entitled to participate in the management of state affairs according to law.
(2) In accordance with the assigned number of seats and the selection method specified by the National People's Congress, the Chinese citizens among the residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall locally elect deputies of the Regionto the National People's Congress to participate in the work of the highest organ of state power.
 
Article 22
(1) 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 Law.
(2) If there is a need for departments of the Central Government, or for provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government to set up offices in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, they must obtain the consent of the government of the Region and the approval of the Central People's Government.
(3) All offices set up in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by departments of the Central Government, or by provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government, and the personnel of these offices shall abide by the laws of the Region.
(4) For entry into the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, people from other parts of China must apply for approval.  Among them, the number of persons who enter the Region for the purpose of settlement shall be determined by the competent authorities of the Central People's Government after consulting the government of the Region.
(5) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may establish an office in Beijing.
 
Article 23
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.
 

Chapter III  Fundamental Rights and Duties of the Residents

 
Article 24  [Citizenship]
(1) Residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("Hong Kong residents") shall include permanent residents and non-permanent residents.
(2) The permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be:
1) Chinese citizens born in Hong Kong before or after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;
2) Chinese citizens who have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for continuous period of not less than seven years before or after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;
3) Persons of Chinese nationality born outside Hong Kong of those residents listed in categories 1) and 2);
4) Persons not of Chinese nationality who have entered Hong Kong with valid travel documents, have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than seven years and have taken Hong Kong as their place of permanent residence before or after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;
5) Persons under 21 years of age born in Hong Kong of those residents listed in category 4) before or after the establishmentof the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; and
6) Persons other than those residents listed in categories 1) to 5), who, before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, had the right of abode in Hong Kong only.
(3) The above-mentioned residents shall have the right of abode in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and shall be qualified to obtain, in accordance with the laws of the Region, permanent identity cards which state their right of abode.
(4) The non-permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be persons who are qualified to obtain Hong Kong identity cards in accordance with the laws of the Region but have no right of abode.
 
Article 25  [Equality]
All Hong Kong residents shall be equal before the law.63
 
Article 26  [Electoral Rights]
Permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall have the right to vote and the right to stand for election in accordance with law.6271
 
Article 27  [Freedom of Expression and Association]
Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press, and of publication6242; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession, and of demonstration; and the right and freedom to form and join trade unions, and to strike.
 
Article 28  [Personal Freedom]
(1) The freedom of the person of Hong Kong residents shall be inviolable.
(2) No Hong Kong resident shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful arrest, detention or imprisonment.  Arbitrary or unlawful search of the body of any resident or deprivation or restriction of the freedom of the person shall be prohibited.  Torture of any resident or arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of the life of any resident shall be prohibited.
 
Article 29  [Home]
The homes and other premises of Hong Kong residents shall be inviolable.  Arbitrary or unlawful search of, or intrusion into, a resident's home or other premises shall be prohibited.
 
Article 30  [Privacy]
The freedom and privacy of communication of Hong Kong residents shall be protected by law.  No department or individual may, on any grounds, infringe upon the freedom and privacy of communication of residents except that the relevant authorities may inspect communication in accordance with legal procedures to meet the needs of public security or of investigation into criminal offences.
 
Article 31  [Right to Move]
Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of movement within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and freedom of emigration to other countries and regions.  They shall have freedom to travel and to enter or leave the Region.  Unless restrained by law, holders of valid travel documents shall be free to leave the Region without special authorization.
 
Article 32  [Religion]
(1) Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of conscience.623
(2) Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of religious belief and freedom to preach and to conduct and participate in religious activities in public.
 
Article 33  [Work]
Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of choice of occupation.
 
Article 34  [Research]
Hong Kong residents shall have freedom to engage in academic research, literary and artistic creation, and other cultural activities.
 
Article 35  [Legal Remedies]
(1) Hong Kong residents shall have the right to confidential legal advice, access to the courts, choice of lawyers for timely protection of their lawful rights and interests or for representation in the courts, and to judicial remedies.
(2) Hong Kong residents shall have the right to institute legal proceedings in the courts against the acts of the executive authorities and their personnel.
 
Article 36  [Welfare]
Hong Kong residents shall have the right to social welfare in accordance with law.  The welfare benefits and retirement security of the labour force shall be protected by law.
 
Article 37  [Marriage]
The freedom of marriage of Hong Kong residents and their right to raise a family freely shall be protected by law.
 
Article 38  [Other Freedoms]
Hong Kong residents shall enjoy the other rights and freedoms safeguarded by the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 39  [International Covenants]
(1) The provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and international labour conventions as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force and shall be implemented through the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
(2) The rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents shall not be restricted unless as prescribed by law.  Such restrictions shall not contravene the provisions of Paragraph (1).
 
Article 40  [Indigenous Inhabitants]
The lawful traditional rights and interests of the indigenous inhabitants of the "New Territories" shall be protected by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 41  [Rights of Foreigners]
Persons in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region other than Hong Kong residents shall, in accordance with law, enjoy the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents prescribed in this Chapter.
 
Article 42  [Duty to Obey the Laws]
Hong Kong residents and other persons in Hong Kong shall have the obligation to abide by the laws in force in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 

Chapter IV  Political Structure

 

Section 1  The Chief Executive

 
Article 43
(1) The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be the head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region51 and shall represent the Region.
(2) The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be accountable to the Central People's Government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in accordance with the provisions of this Law.
 
Article 44
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be a Chinese citizen of not less than 40 years of age who is a permanent resident of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years.
 
Article 45
(1) The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government.
(2) The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress.  The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.
(3) The specific method for selecting the Chief Executive is prescribed in Annex I: "Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".
 
Article 46
The term of office of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be five years.  He or she may serve for not more than two consecutive terms.
 
Article 47
(1) The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must be a person of integrity, dedicated to his or her duties.
(2) The Chief Executive, on assuming office, shall declare his or her assets to the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  This declaration shall be put on record.
 
Article 48
(1) The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall exercise the following powers and functions:
1) To lead the government of the Region;
2) To be responsible for the implementation of this Law and other laws which, in accordance with this Law, apply in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;
3) To sign bills passed by the Legislative Council and to promulgate laws; to sign budgets passed by the Legislative Council and report the budgets and final accounts to the Central People's Government for the record;
4) To decide on government policies and to issue executive orders;
5) To nominate and to report to the Central People's Government for appointment the following principal officials: Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries of Departments, Directors of Bureaux, Commissioner Against Corruption, Director of Audit, Commissioner of Police, Director of Immigration and Commissioner of Customs and Excise; and to recommend to the Central People's Government the removal of the above-mentioned officials;
6) To appoint or remove judges of the courts at all levels in accordance with legal procedures;
7) To appoint or remove holders of public office in accordance with legal procedures;
8) To implement the directives issued by the Central People's Government in respect of the relevant matters provided for in this Law;
9) To conduct, on behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, external affairs and other affairs as authorized by the Central Authorities;
10) To approve the introduction of motions regarding revenues or expenditure to the Legislative Council;
11) To decide, in the light of security and vital public interests, whether government officials or other personnel in charge of government affairs should testify or give evidence before the Legislative Council or its committees;
12) To pardon persons convicted of criminal offences or commute their penalties; and
13) To handle petitions and complaints.
 
Article 49
If the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region considers that a bill passed by the Legislative Council is not compatible with the overall interests of the Region, he or she may return it to the Legislative Council within three months for reconsideration.  If the Legislative Council passes the original bill again by not less than a two-thirds majority of all the members, the Chief Executive must sign and promulgate it within one month, or act in accordance with the provisions of Article 50 of this Law.
 
Article 50
(1) If the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region refuses to sign a bill passed the second time by the Legislative Council, or the Legislative Council refuses to pass a budget or any other important bill introduced by the government, and if consensus still cannot be reached after consultations, the Chief Executive may dissolve the Legislative Council.
(2) The Chief Executive must consult the Executive Council before dissolving the Legislative Council.  The Chief Executive may dissolve the Legislative Council only once in each term of his or her office.
 
Article 51
If the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region refuses to pass the budget introduced by the government, the Chief Executive may apply to the Legislative Council for provisional appropriations.  If appropriation of public funds cannot be approved because the Legislative Council has already been dissolved, the Chief Executive may, prior to the election of the new Legislative Council approve provisional short-term appropriations according to the level of expenditure of the previous fiscal year.
 
Article 52
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must resign under any of the following circumstances:
1) When he or she loses the ability to discharge his or her duties as a result of serious illness or other reasons;
2) When, after the Legislative Council is dissolved because he or she twice refuses to sign a bill passed by it, the new Legislative Council again passes by a two-thirds majority of all the members the original bill in dispute, but he or she still refuses to sign it; and
3) When, after the Legislative Council is dissolved because it refuses to pass a budget or any other important bill, the new Legislative Council still refuses to pass the original bill in dispute.
 
Article 53
(1) If the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is not able to discharge his or her duties for a short period, such duties shall temporarily be assumed by the Administrative Secretary, Financial Secretary or Secretary of Justice in this order of precedence.
(2) In the event that the office of Chief Executive becomes vacant, a new Chief Executive shall be selected within six months in accordance with the provisions of Article 45 of this Law.  During the period of vacancy, his or her duties shall be assumed according to the provisions of Paragraph (1).
 
Article 54
The Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be an organ for assisting the Chief Executive in policy- making.
 
Article 55
(1) Members of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be appointed by the Chief Executive from among the principal officials of the executive authorities, members of the Legislative Council and public figures.  Their appointment or removal shall be decided by the Chief Executive.  The term of office of members of the Executive Council shall not extend beyond the expiry of the term of office of the Chief Executive who appoints them.
(2) Members of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country.
(3) The Chief Executive may, as he or she deems necessary, invite other persons concerned to sit in on meetings of the Council.
 
Article 56
(1) The Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be presided over by the Chief Executive.
(2) Except for the appointment, removal and disciplining of officials and the adoption of measures in emergencies, the Chief Executive shall consult the Executive Council before making important policy decisions, introducing bills to the Legislative Council, making subordinate legislation, or dissolving the Legislative Council.
(3) If the Chief Executive does not accept a majority opinion of the Executive Council, he or she shall put the specific reasons on record.
 
Article 57
A Commission Against Corruption shall be established in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  It shall function independently and be accountable to the Chief Executive.
 
Article 58
A Commission of Audit shall be established in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  It shall function independently and be accountable to the Chief Executive.
 

Section 2  The Executive Authorities

 
Article 59
The Government525 of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be the executive authorities of the Region.
 
Article 60
(1) The head of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be the Chief Executive of the Region.
(2) A Department of Administration, a Department of Finance, Department of Justice, and various bureaux, divisions and commissions shall be established in the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 61
The principal officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country and have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 15 years.
 
Article 62
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall exercise the following powers and functions:
1) To formulate and implement policies;
2) To conduct administrative affairs;
3) To conduct external affairs as authorized by the Central People's Government under this Law;
4) To draw up and introduce budgets and final accounts;
5) To draft and introduce bills, motions and subordinate legislation; and
6) To designate officials to sit in on the meetings of the Legislative Council and to speak on behalf of the government.
 
Article 63
The Department of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall control criminal prosecutions, free from any interference.
 
Article 64
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must abide by the law and be accountable to the Legislative Council of the Region: it shall implement laws passed by the Council and already in force; it shall present regular policy addresses to the Council; it shall answer questions raised by members of the Council; and it shall obtain approval from the Council for taxation and public expenditure.
 
Article 65
The previous system of establishing advisory bodies by the executive authorities shall be maintained.
 

Section 3  The Legislature

 
Article 66
The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be the legislature of the Region.532
 
Article 67
The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be composed of Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country.  However, permanent residents of the Region who are not of Chinese nationality or who have the right of abode in foreign countries may also be elected members of the Legislative Council of the Region, provided that the proportion of such members does not exceed 20 per cent of the total membership of the Council.
 
Article 68
(1) The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be constituted by election.
(2) The method for forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress.  The ultimate aim is the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage.
(3) The specific method for forming the Legislative Council and its procedures for voting on bills and motions are prescribed in Annex II: "Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Its Voting Procedures".
 
Article 69
The term of office of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be four years, except the first term which shall be two years.
 
Article 70
If the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is dissolved by the Chief Executive in accordance with the provisions of this Law, it must, within three months, be reconstituted by election in accordance with Article 68 of this Law.
 
Article 71
(1) The President of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be elected by and from among the members of the Legislative Council.
(2) The President of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be a Chinese citizen of not less than 40 years of age, who is a permanent resident of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years.
 
Article 72
The President of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall exercise the following powers and functions:
1) To preside over meetings;
2) To decide on the agenda, giving priority to government bills for inclusion in the agenda;
3) To decide on the time of meetings;
4) To call special sessions during the recess;
5) To call emergency sessions on the request of the Chief Executive; and
6) To exercise other powers and functions as prescribed in the rules of procedure of the Legislative Council.
 
Article 73
The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall exercise the following powers and functions:5323
1) To enact, amend or repeal laws in accordance with the provisions of this Law and legal procedures;
2) To examine and approve budgets introduced by the government;
3) To approve taxation and public expenditure;5325
4) To receive and debate the policy addresses of the Chief Executive;
5) To raise questions on the work of the government;
6) To debate any issue concerning public interests;
7) To endorse the appointment and removal of the judges of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court;
8) To receive and handle complaints from Hong Kong residents;
9) If a motion initiated jointly by one-fourth of all the members of the Legislative Council charges the Chief Executive with serious breach of law or dereliction of duty and if he or she refuses to resign, the Council may, after passing a motion for investigation, give a mandate to the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal to form and chair an independent investigation committee.  The committee shall be responsible for carrying out the investigation and reporting its findings to the Council.  If the committee considers the evidence sufficient to substantiate such charges, the Council may pass a motion of impeachment by a two-thirds majority of all its members and report it to the Central People's Government for decision; and
10) To summon, as required when exercising the above-mentioned powers and functions, persons concerned to testify or give evidence.
 
Article 74
Members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may introduce bills in accordance with the provisions of this Law and legal procedures.  Bills which do not relate to public expenditure or political structure or the operation of the government may be introduced individually or jointly by members of the Council.  The written consent of the Chief Executive shall be required before bills relating to government policies are introduced.
 
Article 75
(1) The quorum for the meeting of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be not less than one half of all its members.
(2) The rules of procedure of the Legislative Council shall be made by the Council on its own, provided that they do not contravene this Law.
 
Article 76
A bill passed by the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may take effect only after it is signed and promulgated by the Chief Executive.
 
Article 77
Members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be immune from legal action in respect of their statements at meetings of the Council.
 
Article 78
Members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall not be subjected to arrest when attending or on their way to a meeting of the Council.
 
Article 79
The President of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall declare that a member of the Council is no longer qualified for the office under any of the following circumstances:
1) When he or she loses the ability to discharge his or her duties as a result of serious illness or other reasons;
2) When he or she, with no valid reason, is absent from meetings for three consecutive months without the consent of the President of the Legislative Council;
3) When he or she loses or renounces his or her status as a permanent resident of the Region;
4) When he or she accepts a government appointment and becomes a public servant;
5) When he or she is bankrupt or fails to comply with a court order to repay debts;
6) When he or she is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for one month or more for a criminal offence committed within or outside the Region and is relieved of his or her duties by a motion passed by two-thirds of the members of the Legislative Council present; and
7) When he or she is censured for misbehaviour or breach of oath by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Legislative Council present.
 

Section 4  The Judiciary

 
Article 80
The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at all levels shall be the judiciary of the Region, exercising the judicial power of the Region.541
 
Article 81
(1) The Court of Final Appeal5413, the High Court, district courts, magistrates' courts, and other special courts shall be established in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  The High Court shall comprise the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance.
(2) The judicial system previously practised in Hong Kong shall be maintained except for those changes consequent upon the establishment of the Court of Final Appeal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 82
The power of final adjudication of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be vested in the Court of Final Appeal of the Region, which may as required invite judges from other common law jurisdictions to sit on the Court of Final Appeal.
 
Article 83
The structure, powers and functions of the courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at all levels shall be prescribed bylaw.
 
Article 84
The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall adjudicate cases in accordance with the laws applicable in the Region as prescribed in Article 18 of this Law and may refer to precedents of other common law jurisdictions.
 
Article 85
The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference.  Members of the judiciary shall be immune from legal action in the performance of their judicial functions.5421
 
Article 86
The principle of trial by jury previously practised in Hong Kong shall be maintained.
 
Article 87
(1) In criminal or civil proceedings in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the principles previously applied in Hong Kong and the rights previously enjoyed by parties to proceedings shall be maintained.
(2) Anyone who is lawfully arrested shall have the right to a fair trial by the judicial organs without delay and shall be presumed innocent until convicted by the judicial organs.
 
Article 88
Judges of the courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be appointed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of an independent commission composed of local judges, persons from the legal profession and eminent persons from other sectors.
 
Article 89
(1) A judge of a court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may only be removed for inability to discharge his or her duties, or for misbehaviour, by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of a tribunal appointed by the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal and consisting of not fewer than three local judges.
(2) The Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may be investigated only for inability to discharge his or her duties, or for misbehaviour, by a tribunal appointed by the Chief Executive and consisting of not fewer than five local judges and may be removed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of the tribunal and in accordance with the procedures prescribed in this Law.
 
Article 90
(1) The Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country.
(2) In the case of the appointment or removal of judges of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Chief Executive shall, in addition to following the procedures prescribed in Articles 88 and 89 of this Law, obtain the endorsement of the Legislative Council and report such appointment or removal to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for therecord.
 
Article 91
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall maintain the previous system of appointment and removal of members of the judiciary other than judges.
 
Article 92
Judges and other members of the judiciary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be chosen on the basis of their judicial and professional qualities and may be recruited from other common law jurisdictions.
 
Article 93
(1) Judges and other members of the judiciary serving in Hong Kong before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may all remain in employment and retain their seniority with pay, allowances, benefits and conditions of service no less favourable than before.
(2) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall pay to judges and other members of the judiciary who retire or leave the service in compliance with regulations, including those who have retired or left the service before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or to their dependants, all pensions, gratuities, allowances and benefits due to them on terms no less favourable than before, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence.
 
Article 94
On the basis of the system previously operating in Hong Kong, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may make provisions for local lawyers and lawyers from outside Hong Kong to work and practise in the Region.
 
Article 95
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, through consultations and in accordance with law, maintain juridical relations with the judicial organs of other parts of the country, and they may render assistance to each other.
 
Article 96
With the assistance or authorization of the Central People's Government, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may make appropriate arrangements with foreign states for reciprocal juridical assistance.
 

Section 5  District Organizations

 
Article 97
District organizations which are not organs of political power may be established in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, to be consulted by the government of the Region528 on district administration and other affairs, or to be responsible for providing services in such fields as culture, recreation and environmental sanitation.
 
Article 98
The powers and functions of the district organizations and the method for their formation shall be prescribed by law.
 

Section 6  Public Servants

 
Article 99
(1) Public servants serving in all government departments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must be permanent residents of the Region, except where otherwise provided for in Article 101 of this Law regarding public servants of foreign nationalities and except for those below a certain rank as prescribed by law.
(2) Public servants must be dedicated to their duties and be responsible to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 100
Public servants serving in all Hong Kong government departments, including the police department, before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, may all remain in employment and retain their seniority with pay, allowances, benefits and conditions of service no less favourable than before.
 
Article 101
(1) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may employ British and other foreign nationals previously serving in the public service in Hong Kong, or those holding permanent identity cards of the Region, to serve as public servants in government departments at all levels, but only Chinese citizens among permanent residents of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country may fill the following posts: the Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries of Departments, Directors of Bureaux, Commissioner Against Corruption, Director of Audit, Commissioner of Police, Director of Immigration and Commissioner of Customs and Excise.
(2) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may also employ British and other foreign nationals as advisers to government departments and, when required, may recruit qualified candidates from outside the Region to fill professional and technical posts in government departments.  These foreign nationals shall be employed only in their individual capacities and shall be responsible to the government of the Region.
 
Article 102
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall pay to public servants who retire or who leave the service in compliance with regulations, including those who have retired or who have left the service in compliance with regulations before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or to their dependants, all pensions, gratuities, allowances and benefits due to them on terms no less favourable than before, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence.
 
Article 103
The appointment and promotion of public servants shall be on the basis of their qualifications, experience and ability.  Hong Kong's previous system of recruitment, employment, assessment, discipline, training and management for the public service, including special bodies for their appointment, pay and conditions of service, shall be maintained, except for any provisions for privileged treatment of foreign nationals.
 
Article 104
When assuming office, the Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and of the Legislative Council, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of thejudiciary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
 

Chapter V  Economy

 

Section 1  Public Finance, Monetary Affairs, Trade, Industry and Commerce

 
Article 105
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, in accordance with law, protect the right of individuals and legal persons to the acquisition, use, disposal, and inheritance of property622 and their right to compensation for lawful deprivation of their property.
(2) Such compensation shall correspond to the real value of the property concerned at the time and shall be freely convertible and paid without undue delay.
(3) The ownership of enterprises and the investments from outside the Region shall be protected by law.
 
Article 106
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall have independent finances.
(2) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall use its financial revenues exclusively for its own purposes, and they shall not be handed over to the Central People's Government.
(3) The Central People's Government shall not levy taxes in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 107
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall follow the principle of keeping expenditure within the limits of revenues in drawing up its budget, and strive to achieve a fiscal balance, avoid deficits and keep the budget commensurate with the growth rate of its gross domestic product.
 
Article 108
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall practise an independent taxation system.
(2) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, taking the low tax policy previously pursued in Hong Kong as reference, enact laws on its own concerning types of taxes, tax rates, tax reductions, allowances and exemptions, and other matters of taxation.
 
Article 109
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall provide an appropriate economic and legal environment for the maintenance of the status of Hong Kong as an international financial centre.
 
Article 110
(1) The monetary and financial systems of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be prescribed by law.
(2) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate monetary and financial policies, safeguard the free operation of financial business and financial markets, and regulate and supervise them in accordance with law.
 
Article 111
(1) The Hong Kong dollar, as the legal tender in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, shall continue to circulate.
(2) The authority to issue Hong Kong currency shall be vested in the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  The issue of Hong Kong currency must be backed by a 100 per cent reserve fund.  The system regarding the issue of Hong Kong currency and the reserve fund system shall be prescribed by law.
(3) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may authorize designated banks to issue or continue to issue Hong Kong currency under statutory authority, after satisfying itself that any issue of currency will be soundly based and that the arrangements for such issue are consistent with the object of maintaining the stability of the currency.
 
Article 112
(1) No foreign exchange control policies shall be applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  The Hong Kong dollar shall be freely convertible.  Markets for foreign exchange, gold, securities, futures and the like shall continue.
(2) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall safeguard the free flow of capital within, into and out of the Region.
 
Article 113
The Exchange Fund of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be managed and controlled by the government of the Region, primarily for regulating the exchange value of the Hong Kong dollar.
 
Article 114
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall maintain the status of a free port and shall not impose any tariff unless otherwise prescribed by law.
 
Article 115
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall pursue the policy of free trade and safeguard the free movement of goods, intangible assets and capital.
 
Article 116
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be a separate customs territory.
(2) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, using the name "Hong Kong, China", participate in relevant international organizations and international trade agreements (including preferential trade arrangements), such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and arrangements regarding international trade in textiles.
(3) Export quotas, tariff preferences and other similar arrangements, which are obtained or made by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or which were obtained or made and remain valid, shall be enjoyed exclusively by the Region.
 
Article 117
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may issue its own certificates of origin for products in accordance with prevailing rules of origin.
 
Article 118
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall provide an economic and legal environment for encouraginginvestments, technological progress and the development of new industries.
 
Article 119
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall formulate appropriate policies to promote and co-ordinate the development of various trades such as manufacturing, commerce, tourism, real estate, transport, public utilities, services, agriculture and fisheries, and pay regard to the protection of the environment.
 

Section 2  Land Leases

 
Article 120
All leases of land granted, decided upon or renewed before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which extend beyond 30 June 1997, and all rights in relation to such leases, shall continue to be recognized and protected under the law of the Region.
 
Article 121
As regards all leases of land granted or renewed where the original leases contain no right of renewal, during the period from 27 May 1985 to 30 June 1997, which extend beyond 30 June 1997 and expire not later than 30 June 2047, the lessee is not required to pay an additional premium as from 1 July 1997, but an annual rent equivalent to 3 per cent of the rateable value of the property at that date, adjusted in step with any changes in the rateable value thereafter, shall be charged.
 
Article 122
In the case of old schedule lots, village lots, small houses and similar rural holdings, where the property was on 30 June 1984 held by, or, in the case of small houses granted after that date, where the property is granted to, a lessee descended through the male line from a person who was in 1898 a resident of an established village in Hong Kong, the previous rent shall remain unchanged so long as the property is held by that lessee or by one of his lawful successors in the male line.
 
Article 123
Where leases of land without a right of renewal expire after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, they shall be dealt with in accordance with laws and policies formulated by the Region on its own.
 

Section 3  Shipping

 
Article 124
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall maintain Hong Kong's previous systems of shipping management and shipping regulation, including the system for regulating conditions of seamen.
(2) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, define its specific functions and responsibilities in respect of shipping.
 
Article 125
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be authorized by the Central People's Government to continue to maintain a shipping register and issue related certificates under its legislation,using the name "Hong Kong, China".
 
Article 126
With the exception of foreign warships, access for which requires the special permission of the Central People's Government, ships shall enjoy access to the ports of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in accordance with the laws of the Region.
 
Article 127
Private shipping businesses and shipping-related businesses and private container terminals in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may continue to operate freely.
 

Section 4  Civil Aviation

 
Article 128
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall provide conditions and take measures for the maintenance of the status of Hong Kong as a centre of international and regional aviation.
 
Article 129
(1) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall continue the previous system of civil aviation management in Hong Kong and keep its own aircraft register in accordance with provisions laid down by the Central People's Government concerning nationality marks and registration marks of aircraft.
(2) Access of foreign state aircraft to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall require the special permission of the Central People's Government.
 
Article 130
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be responsible on its own for matters of routine business and technical management of civil aviation, including the management of airports, the provision of air traffic services within the flight information region of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the discharge of other responsibilities allocated to it under the regional air navigation procedures of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
 
Article 131
The Central People's Government shall, in consultation with the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, make arrangements providing air services between the Region and other parts of the People's Republic of China for airlines incorporated in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and having their principal place of business in Hong Kong and other airlines of the People's Republic of China.
 
Article 132
(1) All air service agreements providing air services between other parts of the People's Republic of China and other states and regions with stops at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and air services between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and other states and regions with stops at other parts of the People's Republic of China shall be concluded by the Central People's Government.
(2) In concluding the air service agreements referred to in Paragraph (1), the Central People's Government shall take account of the special conditions and economic interests of theHong Kong Special Administrative Region and consult the government of the Region.
(3) Representatives of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, as members of the delegations of the Government of the People's Republic of China, participate in air service consultations conducted by the Central People's Government with foreign governments concerning arrangements for such services referred to in Paragraph (1).
 
Article 133
(1) Acting under specific authorizations from the Central People's Government, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may:
1) renew or amend air service agreements and arrangements previously in force;
2) negotiate and conclude new air service agreements providing routes for airlines incorporated in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and having their principal place of business in Hong Kong and providing rights for over-flights and technical stops; and
3) negotiate and conclude provisional arrangements with foreign states or regions with which no air service agreements have been concluded.
(2) All scheduled air services to, from or through Hong Kong, which do not operate to, from or through the mainland of China shall be regulated by the air service agreements or provisional arrangements referred to in this article.
 
Article 134
The Central People's Government shall give the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region the authority to:
1) negotiate and conclude with other authorities all arrangements concerning the implementation of the air service agreements and provisional arrangements referred to in Article 133 of this Law;
2) issue licences to airlines incorporated in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and having their principal place of business in Hong Kong;
3) designate such airlines under the air service agreements and provisional arrangements referred to in Article 133 of this Law; and
4) issue permits to foreign airlines for services other than those to, from or through the mainland of China.
 
Article 135
Airlines incorporated and having their principal place of business in Hong Kong and businesses related to civil aviation functioning there prior to the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may continue to operate.
 

Chapter VI  Education, Science, Culture, Sports, Religion, Labour and Social Service

 
Article 136
(1) On the basis of the previous educational system, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate policies on the development and improvement of education, including policies regarding the educational system and its administration, the language of instruction, the allocation of funds, the examination system, the system of academic awards and the recognition of educational qualifications.
(2) Community organizations and individuals may, in accordance with law, run educational undertakings of various kinds in theHong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 137
(1) Educational institutions of all kinds may retain their autonomy and enjoy academic freedom.  They may continue to recruit staff and use teaching materials from outside the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  Schools run by religious organizations may continue to provide religious education, including courses in religion.
(2) Students shall enjoy freedom of choice of educational institutions and freedom to pursue their education outside the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
 
Article 138
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate policies to develop Western and traditional Chinese medicine and to improve medical and health services.  Community organizations and individuals may provide various medical and health services in accordance with law
 
Article 139
(1) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate policies on science and technology and protect by law achievements in scientific and technological research, patents, discoveries and inventions.
(2) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, decide on the scientific and technological standards and specifications applicable in Hong Kong.
 
Article 140
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate policies on culture and protect by law the achievements and the lawful rights and interests of authors in their literary and artistic creation.
 
Article 141
(1) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall not restrict the freedom of religious belief, interfere in the internal affairs of religious organizations or restrict religious activities which do not contravene the laws of the Region.
(2) Religious organizations shall, in accordance with law, enjoy the rights to acquire, use, dispose of and inherit property and the right to receive financial assistance.  Their previous property rights and interests shall be maintained and protected.
(3) Religious organizations may, according to their previous practice, continue to run seminaries and other schools, hospitals and welfare institutions and to provide other social services.
(4) Religious organizations and believers in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may maintain and develop their relations with religious organizations and believers elsewhere.
 
Article 142
(1) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on the basis of maintaining the previous systems concerning the professions, formulate provisions on its own for assessing the qualifications for practice in the various professions.
(2) Persons with professional qualifications or qualifications for professional practice obtained prior to the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may retain their previous qualifications in accordance with the relevant regulations andcodes of practice.
(3) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall continue to recognize the professions and the professional organizations recognized prior to the establishment of the Region, and these organizations may, on their own, assess and confer professional qualifications.
(4) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, as required by developments in society and in consultation with the parties concerned, recognize new professions and professional organizations.
 
Article 143
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate policies on sports.  Non-governmental sports organizations may continue to exist and develop in accordance with law.
 
Article 144
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall maintain the policy previously practised in Hong Kong in respect of subventions for non-governmental organizations in fields such as education, medicine and health, culture, art, recreation, sports, social welfare and social work.  Staff members previously serving in subvented organizations in Hong Kong may remain in their employment in accordance with the previous system.
 
Article 145
On the basis of the previous social welfare system, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate policies on the development and improvement of this system in the light of the economic conditions and social needs.
 
Article 146
Voluntary organizations providing social services in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, on their own, decide their forms of service, provided that the law is not contravened.
 
Article 147
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall on its own formulate laws and policies relating to labour.
 
Article 148
The relationship between non-governmental organizations in fields such as education, science, technology, culture, art, sports, the professions, medicine and health, labour, social welfare and social work as well as religious organizations in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and their counterparts on the mainland shall be based on the principles of non-subordination, non-interference and mutual respect.
 
Article 149
Non-governmental organizations in fields such as education, science, technology, culture, art, sports, the professions, medicine and health, labour, social welfare and social work as well as religious organizations in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may maintain and develop relations with their counterparts in foreign countries and regions and with relevant international organizations.  They may, as required, use the name "Hong Kong, China" in the relevant activities.
 

Chapter VII  External Affairs

 
Article 150
Representatives of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, as members of delegations of the Government of the People's Republic of China, participate in negotiations at the diplomatic level directly affecting the Region conducted by the Central People's Government.
 
Article 151
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may on its own, using the name "Hong Kong, China", maintain and develop relations and conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions and relevant international organizations in the appropriate fields, including the economic, trade, financial and monetary, shipping, communications, tourism, cultural and sports fields.
 
Article 152
(1) Representatives of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, as members of delegations of the People's Republic of China, participate in international organizations or conferences in appropriate fields limited to states and affecting the Region, or may attend in such other capacity as may be permitted by the Central People's Government and the international organization or conference concerned, and may express their views, using the name "Hong Kong, China".
(2) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, using the name "Hong Kong, China", participate in international organizations and conferences not limited to states.
(3) The Central People's Government shall take the necessary steps to ensure that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall continue to retain its status in an appropriate capacity in those international organizations of which the People's Republic of China is a member and in which Hong Kong participates in one capacity or another.
(4) The Central People's Government shall, where necessary, facilitate the continued participation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in an appropriate capacity in those international organizations in which Hong Kong is a participant in one capacity or another, but of which the People's Republic of China is not a member.
 
Article 153
(1) The application to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of international agreements to which the People's Republic of China is or becomes a party shall be decided by the Central People's Government, in accordance with the circumstances and needs of the Region, and after seeking the views of the government of the Region.
(2) International agreements to which the People's Republic of China is not a party but which are implemented in Hong Kong may continue to be implemented in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  The Central People's Government shall, as necessary, authorize or assist the government of the Region to make appropriate arrangements for the application to the Region of other relevant international agreements.
 
Article 154
(1) The Central People's Government shall authorize the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to issue, in accordance with law, passports of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China to all Chinese citizens who hold permanent identity cards of the Region,and travel documents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China to all other persons lawfully residing in the Region.  The above passports and documents shall be valid for all states and regions and shall record the holder's right to return to the Region.
(2) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may apply immigration controls on entry into, stay in and departure from the Region by persons from foreign states and regions.
 
Article 155
The Central People's Government shall assist or authorize the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to conclude visa abolition agreements with foreign states or regions.
 
Article 156
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, as necessary, establish official or semi-official economic and trade missions in foreign countries and shall report the establishment of such missions to the Central People's Government for the record.
 
Article 157
(1) The establishment of foreign consular and other official or semi- official missions in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall require the approval of the Central People's Government.
(2) Consular and other official missions established in Hong Kong by states which have formal diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China may be maintained.
(3) According to the circumstances of each case, consular and other official missions established in Hong Kong by states which have no formal diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China may be permitted either to remain or be changed to semi-official missions.  States not recognized by the People's Republic of China may only establish non-governmental institutions in the Region.
 

Chapter VIII  Interpretation and Amendment of the Basic Law

 
Article 158
(1) The power of interpretation of this Law shall be vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
(2) The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress shall authorize the courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to interpret on their own, in adjudicating cases, the provisions of this Law which are within the limits of the autonomy of the Region.
(3) The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may also interpret other provisions of this Law in adjudicating cases.  However, if the courts of the Region, in adjudicating cases, need to interpret the provisions of this Law concerning affairs which are the responsibility of the Central People's Government, or concerning the relationship between the Central Authorities and the Region, and if such interpretation will affect the judgments on the cases, the courts of the Region shall, before making their final judgments which are not appealable, seek an interpretation of the relevant provisions from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress through the Court of Final Appeal of the Region.  When the Standing Committee makes an interpretation of the provisions concerned, the courts of the Region, in applying those provisions, shall follow the interpretation of the StandingCommittee.  However, judgments previously rendered shall not be affected.
(4) The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress shall consult its Committee for the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region before giving an interpretation of this Law.
 
Article 159
(1) The power of amendment of this Law shall be vested in the National People's Congress.
(2) The power to propose bills for amendments to this Law shall be vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the State Council and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  Amendment bills from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be submitted to the National People's Congress by the delegation of the Region to the National People's Congress after obtaining the consent of two-thirds of the deputies of the Region to the National People's Congress, two-thirds of all the members of the Legislative Council of the Region, and the Chief Executive of the Region.
(3) Before a bill for amendment to this Law is put on the agenda of the National People's Congress, the Committee for the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall study it and submit its views.  No amendment to this Law shall contravene the established basic policies of the People's Republic of China regarding Hong Kong.
 

Chapter IX  Supplementary Provisions

 
Article 160
(1) Upon the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the laws previously in force in Hong Kong shall be adopted as laws of the Region except for those which the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress declares to be in contravention of this Law.  If any laws are later discovered to be in contravention of this Law, they shall be amended or cease to have force in accordance with the procedure as prescribed by this Law.
(2) Documents, certificates, contracts, and rights and obligations valid under the laws previously in force in Hong Kong shall continue to be valid and be recognized and protected by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, provided that they do not contravene this Law.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - May 29th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.