Wang Zhimin, director of Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, has said that the first article of the Chinese constitution on socialism also applies to Hong Kong.

Wang said the relationship between the Chinese constitution and the city’s Basic Law is akin to mother and child, as the power of the Basic Law comes from the constitution: “Rejecting the power of the constitution over Hong Kong is equal to rejecting the power of the Basic Law over Hong Kong. They are of one body and cannot be separated.”

The first article of the constitution stipulates that “the socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. Disruption of the socialist system by any organisation or individual is prohibited.”

Wang Zhimin
Wang Zhimin. Photo: Liaison Office.

Wang said: “Although Hong Kong does not implement socialism, it must respect and recognise that the state body implements the socialist system in accordance with the constitution – it must respect and recognise the country’s important systems, such as the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the people’s congresses as stipulated by the constitution.”

Article 5 of the Basic Law stipulates that “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.”

Wang’s article was published on Sunday by the Liaison Office to celebrate Monday’s National Constitution Day. The annual event was decided by a law passed by the National People’s Congress in 2014.

Wang said it was very meaningful for Hong Kong to launch National Constitution Day events for the first time to improve the spirit of patriotism, when the current constitution has been implemented for 35 years.

Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Wang said that under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland have different legal systems, but there can only be one constitution.

“The country exercises its sovereignty over Hong Kong once again since the day of the Handover, and the first thing is to restore the power of the constitution over Hong Kong and the central government’s overall jurisdiction,” he said.

“To ensure ‘One Country, Two System’ will sail steadily and go the distance, we must understand the relationship between the Basic Law and the country’s constitution – we must defend the authority of the constitution.”

Chinese Xi Jinping stressed that the central government exercises full control over Hong Kong and Macau at the 19th Chinese Communist Party National Congress in October.

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.