Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung has said that the Basic Law may continue to be in effect after 2047. The Basic Law states that “the previous capitalist system and way of life” shall remain unchanged for 50 years after the 1997 handover from Britain.

Yuen was giving a speech at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute of Columbia University in New York on Friday.

When asked by an audience about the future of Hong Kong after 2047, Yuen said that there was only one provision in the entire Basic Law that mentions “50 years.”

“To contrast that, there is no provision in the Basic Law which said that the Basic Law will expire after 50 years,” he said, “I think that is important, because I think that it gives at least some room for the future development.”

Rimsky Yuen during the talk. Photo: Gov HK.

Yuen said that he assured other people who asked him about the future.

“At least up to this very moment, I do not see any suggestions that Hong Kong is not working well and that Hong Kong is not contributing to the future development of China. What’s the reason for changing something when it is working well?” he asked.

Article 5 of the Basic Law states:

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“The socialist system and policies shall not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.”
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Extended lease after 2047

On Monday, Singtao Daily reported that the government was considering to award a 50-year lease on the Sha Tin racecourse to the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

In 1997, the land lease was extended for 15 years – it expired in June 2012.

A Lands Department spokesperson told the newspaper that talks are underway between both parties on the details of a “special purpose” land lease spanning 50 years. The lease will still be applicable after 2047.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.