Bill asks NPC to extend 6th HK LegCo's tenure
China’s State Council on Saturday submitted a bill to an ongoing session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, asking it to make a decision for the sixth Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to continue operation.
Xia Baolong, head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, explained the bill to lawmakers at the session.
On July 28, HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam submitted a report to the central government on matters concerning the postponement of the 2020 LegCo election in response to the emergencies brought by the recent COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong.
The HKSAR Chief Executive in Council has decided to postpone the election of the seventh-term LegCo, which was originally scheduled for September 6, 2020, for one year, and has asked the central government in the report to request the NPC Standing Committee to make arrangements on the vacancy of the LegCo incurred due to the postponement.
The decision made by the HKSAR Chief Executive in Council to postpone the LegCo election in accordance with Hong Kong’s Emergency Regulations Ordinance has a solid legal basis and is in line with the actual conditions of the epidemic development in Hong Kong, according to the State Council.
The decision to postpone the LegCo election will help safeguard public security as well as the justice and fairness of the election. It serves the public interest and is necessary and appropriate, the State Council insisted.
The State Council sent an official letter to Chief Executive Lam on July 29, expressing the central government’s support for the decision.
Deciding in time on matters concerning the vacancy of the LegCo by the NPC Standing Committee in accordance with the law is very necessary for ensuring the governance of the HKSAR government and the normal operation of Hong Kong society, as well as for maintaining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong, according to the State Council.
The Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, started its 21st session on Saturday to review multiple draft laws and revisions.
Li Zhanshu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, presided over the first plenary meeting of the session. A total of 164 members of the NPC Standing Committee attended the meeting.
Lawmakers heard the deliberation reports of draft laws on urban maintenance and construction tax and on deed tax. The NPC Constitution and Law Committee suggested the two drafts be reviewed and passed at the session.
Lawmakers also heard explanations on a draft revision to the law on the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Also on the lawmakers’ table was a draft revision to the animal epidemic prevention law, which further tightens regulations on markets trading live poultry and livestock.