Hong Kong's Basic Law and Political Reform
17 October 2014
Lim Chin Leng
Some senior Hong Kong figures have spoken about unfulfilled treaty promises made between Britain and China. Yet the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 says nothing about choosing Hong Kong's Chief Executive by the votes of five million people. The document which matters here is Hong Kong's Basic Law.
Prior to the handover in 1997, the colonial government expended considerable effort in democratising Hong Kong's Legislative Council or "LegCo". This process, that commenced in earnest in 1984 in the form of a Green Paper, and subsequently in a White Paper, nonetheless had to await the outcome of discussions between 23 representatives of Hong Kong and 36 representatives from Beijing on the enactment of a Basic Law.
No colonial-led reform in the run-up to the handover which did not converge with the Basic Law, in which Britain had no hand in the making, would have been practicable as the Basic Law would apply after the handover. Click here to read the full article.