The Basic Law will still be in legal effect after 2047, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said in an interview with Bauhinia Magazine, a pro-Beijing publication in Hong Kong.

Rimsky Yuen.

Yuen said that only Article 5 of the Basic Law, which specified that socialism should not be practised in Hong Kong, has a 50 year limit written into it. Nowhere else in the Basic Law was it written that the mini-constitution would lose effect after 50 years, he added. And by that logic, the law would still continue to function after July 1, 2047 – 50 years after the city’s 1997 handover to China.

Basic Law Article 5
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.

The principle of One Country-Two Systems policy was that Hong Kong could retain its established capitalist system under a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years.

Yuen told the magazine: “[T]he country [China] can enjoy the benefits of both legal systems, and can promote development through synergy,” citing research that showed the common law’s global acceptance and benefits to business developments. He said that maintaining the One Country-Two Systems policy is in the interests of both Hong Kong and China.

‘Abuse’ of procedure. 

In response to the newly elected Legislative Council, whose term will begin next Wednesday, Yuen urged lawmakers to stop filibustering.

“Filibustering departs from the original intent of a deliberative body, it is an abuse of the legislative procedures,” he said.

Stanley Leung

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.