Hong Kong Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Basic Law

Published on Author Walker Helvey


The Basic Law “provides the legal basis to all public policies and practices in the Special Administrative Region” of Hong Kong. The law was adopted on April 4th, 1990, and came into effect when China regained sovereignty over Hong Kong from Great Britain on July 1, 1997. Hong Kong officials held a seminar in celebration of the law’s promulgation on April 4 of this year to “deepen public knowledge and understanding of the mini constitution in the Chinese Special Administrative Region.”

Government officials and leading intellectuals seem to unanimously agree on the importance of the Basic Law. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in a speech at the commemoration, “What we should do today is not to follow our imagination and our ideals, but to implement policies based on the Basic Law.” Professor Wang Zhenmin of Tsinghua University released a similar statement saying, “Every word and every policy [of the Basic Law] shows the deep affection and care for Hong Kong from the central government, the country, as well as all Chinese people.”

Copy of HK-BasicLaw(5)

A governing body composed of 59 appointed members drafted the Basic Law in 1990, and a Consultative Committee of 180 delegates was created to gather information on public sentiment in the years following the implementation of the mini constitution. The National People’s Congress passed the law on April 5, 1990, as the resolution on the adoption of the Basic Law was approved by 2,660 out of 2,713 deputies in the Great Hall of People in Beijing.

Carrie Liam, the Chief Secretary and Chairperson of the Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee, attests to the crucial role the Basic Law continues to play in Hong Kong’s society. “The Basic Law…guarantees Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and lays a solid foundation for future progress. It also protects citizens’ rights and freedoms.”

Attached is a link to the full text of the Basic Law for all those interested in reading the legal document: http://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/en/basiclawtext/images/basiclaw_full_text_en.pdf




2 Responses to Hong Kong Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Basic Law

  1. Always good when a country celebrates an anniversary of its legislation. More often than not, it’s a bad thing when people are looking back. Except for us, when we celebrated our bicentennial.

  2. What is different about Hong Kong? To what extent (or perhaps on what issues) is it independent, and in what ways is it subservient to Beijing?

    A related set of questions is how Hong Kong changed with the transition from being a British colony with an appointed (not elected) governor to a “Special Administrative Region” with the Basic Law under the PRC and an elected head. What differs beyond how the top person is chosen?