HK Chief Executive attends first meeting of new LegCo, proposes to accelerate legislation of Article 23
Published: Jan 12, 2022 11:40 AM


Carrie Lam, chief executive of the HKSAR government attended the first meeting of the 7th Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administartive Region (HKSAR) under the patriots-only principle on Wednesday, responding to questions  raised by lawmakers concerning law and regulation amendment and policy advise.

The first meeting was held with the Chinese national emblem hanging above the Hong Kong's regional emblem in the main chamber, a new display of national symbol underscoring constitutional status of the HKSAR as one of China's SARs. 

As radical opposition lawmakers left the LegCo, the year 2021 was a fruitful year.  The HKSAR government will propose 40 bills to the LegCo and the government expects enhanced cooperation with lawmakers, Lam said in the opening remarks. 

She also unveiled the government restructuring plans by expanding the current 13 government bureau to 15 with suggestions adding a Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau, and splitting the Transport and Housing Bureau.

Other proposals included accelerating the local legislation relevant to further safeguarding the national security, such as accelerating the legislation of Article 23 as soon as possible.

When required by LegCo member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee over the schedule of the legislature of Article 23, Lam said that the legislature of Article 23 is a responsibility of the HKSAR constitutional system and cannot be delayed any longer. She said that Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung had devoted to related work.

Lam said a previous schedule they discussed previously is to start consulting within the term of current regional government. But if lawmakers would like to discuss and finish the legislature within this regional government's term, the government has no reason to deny.

But the legislature has to be done well to ensure it is effective, Lam stressed.        

Lam called on the society to work together to support the regional government's anti-epidemic work. As long as there are no new domestic COVID-19 cases for 14 consecutive days, the border between Hong Kong and the mainland will hopefully reopen.      

Hong Kong is battling a fifth wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. The city reported 21 new cases on Tuesday, 13 imported and eight domestic. The Hong Kong education bureau requires all elementary schools, kindergartens and childcare centers to suspend offline classes as of Friday.   

At the meeting, a lawmaker said that Hong Kong's anti-epidemic policies are "full of loopholes." In response, Lam said that it is difficult for her to accept such an accusation, saying that it is unfair to say so given tens of thousands of people participating in the anti-epidemic work. 

There are only 1,754 confirmed cases and 28 deaths per one million residents in Hong Kong, it indicates that the city's anti-COVID strategy is very successful, Lam stressed.  

Global Times