Beijing forum explores success of Macao Basic Law amid HK unrest

By Wang Qi, Leng Shumei and Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/3 12:50:25

A hundred Macao youngsters form a banner to mark the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement in front of the Ruins of St. Paul's in Macao on May 4. Photo: IC

 Against the backdrop of months of unrest in Hong Kong, a grand forum to memorialize the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Basic Law in Macao was held  in Beijing on Tuesday morning.

Several senior officials attended the forum including China's top legislator Li Zhanshu, Vice Premier Han Zheng and Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee.

The Basic Law is the programmatic document that defines the status of Macao as a Special Administrative Region. It provides legal safeguards to help Macao transform smoothly, return to the motherland successfully and develop constantly, Chief Executive of the Macao SAR Chui Sai On said at the forum. 

After the return of Macao to the motherland, residents in the region, no matter Chinese or foreigners, have held basic political loyalty to the country. They have never undertaken activities that harm China's national security or are banned by the Article 23 of the Basic Law, including secession, infringement and damaging national sovereignty, Chen Duanhong, who is with the Law School of the Peking University, said at the forum.

"Lacking basic political loyalty will lead to confrontation," Chen noted. 

The government of Macao safeguards the authority of the Basic Law by judicial organs and enforcement of the law by government departments, Chen noted. 

Article 23 is still not included in Hong Kong's Basic Law, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies at Nankai University in Tianjin who attended the forum, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

The Article 23 was included into Macao's Basic Law in 2009, 10 years after the region's return to the motherland. 

The region also set up a law to safeguard national security in 2009 and added clauses to prevent secession in local election laws in 2016. 

It adjusted local law to protect the national flag, national emblem and national anthem in 2017. 

Macao's laws on the national flag, anthem and emblem met the governing needs in terms of construction of a national system and national recognition, Li Xiaobing noted. 

Li said that the Macao SAR Basic Law has consolidated the constitutional foundation jointly formed by the constitution and the Basic Law.

According to him, the people and groups that love the country and Macao SAR have played the leading role in the implementation of the Macao's Basic Law, which prevented a major constitutional crisis amidst the implementation of the Basic Law.

Li Peilin, a member of the Macao Special Administrative Region Basic Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said Macao had enacted laws for the usage and protection of national flag, anthem and emblem, providing the same legal protection for all of them.

Li Peilin, who has been the head of the Association of Education of Macao since the implementation of the Macao Basic Law, said the SAR government has promoted a curriculum to popularize the basic law in more than 10 middle schools, to help them understand the intent and effect of the law and to walk them through the greatness of the "one country, two systems" policy.

The Macao SAR government also popularized the law with primary schools using comics to engage the students. .


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