Restoring constitutional order, 'political system from chaos' is priority: Lam
Published: Nov 25, 2020 04:19 PM

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam delivered a speech at the inauguration ceremony of China Federation of Literacy and Art Circles Hong Kong Member Association in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 18, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

In her 2020 annual policy address, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam stressed the need to restore Hong Kong's constitutional order and restore the political system from chaos, and proposed measures to improve the oath-taking process for civil servants and strengthen legal education for young people. 

Regarding the recent disqualification of a few Legislation Council (LegCo) members, Hong Kong will submit the draft amendment to oath-taking requirements for civil servants within the year to address the legal consequences and proceedings for violating the oath of office. 

Lam said that in order to implement the provisions of the Basic Law, the National Security Law for Hong Kong, the interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law and the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) on the eligibility of LegCo members, and in light of the relevant Hong Kong court judgments, the HKSAR government will introduce a draft to amend the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance as well as the Legislative Council Ordinance within this year to enhance oath-taking arrangement by civil servants and to deal with the legal consequences and relevant statutory procedures for breaching the oath of office.

Lam also mentioned that the Department of Justice was committed to implementing the 10-year plan named "Vision 2030 - A Focus on the Rule of Law" by working with various stakeholders to launch a more focused public education campaign, including educating young people on the correct concept of the rule of law and enhancing their awareness of the need to abide by the law.

The rule of law in Hong Kong has a strong foundation and that the legal system is mature, transparent, fair and reliable, Lam said.

"The Department of Justice is in charge of criminal prosecutions free from any interference, the courts are independent in the conduct of trials free from any interference, and a robust legal aid system ensures that Hong Kong residents are equal before the law," Lam said.

For the more than 2,300 people who were prosecuted in last year's riots, Lam suggested that minors could be treated lightly.

For those under 18 who have shown remorse and were not involved in serious crimes, the police are willing to consider rehabilitative measures, such as receiving a superintendent's cautions or signing a bind over, as appropriate, provided that the minor admits to the wrongdoing, Lam said in the policy address. 

Lam said the main concern of this year's policy address is to "get Hong Kong out of the predicament and restore public confidence as soon as possible," which requires Hong Kong society to be stable by restoring the city's constitutional order. 

Lam also vowed to strengthen communication with central ministries and departments and continue to implement the "one country, two systems" principle.

Global Times