BEIJING, June 10 -- Although the system of special administrative region allows Hong Kong to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, the central government has the power of oversight over it, according to a white paper issued on Tuesday.
Titled "The Practice of the 'One Country, Two Systems' Policy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region," the white paper said the system of special administrative region (SAR), as prescribed in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, is a special administrative system developed by the state for certain regions.
Under this system, the central government exercises overall jurisdiction over the HKSAR, including the powers directly exercised by the central government, and the powers delegated to the HKSAR by the central government to enable it to exercise a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the law, the white paper added.
The central leadership directly exercises jurisdiction over the HKSAR in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. The central leadership also forms the power organs of the HKSAR, appointing and dismissing chief executives and other major officials.
The central government also has the power to support and guide the administration of the chief executive and government of the HKSAR in accordance with the law, and is responsible for foreign affairs and the defense of the HKSAR, the white paper said.
In the meantime, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, can also exercise power granted by the Constitution and the Basic Law of the HKSAR on issues concerning Hong Kong.
Under the system of special administrative region, the HKSAR exercises a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the law, said the white paper, adding the previous capitalist system and way of life remain unchanged in Hong Kong, and existing laws remain basically unchanged.
Adhering to the law, the HKSAR protects the right of ownership of private property, maintains the status of Hong Kong as a free port and a separate customs territory, maintains independent finances, practices an independent taxation system, and formulates its own policies regarding trade, finance, education, science, culture, public health and sports.
In accordance with the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the decision of the NPC Standing Committee on handling the laws previously practiced in Hong Kong, the laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law are maintained, except for any that contravene the Basic Law and are subject to any amendment by the legislature of the HKSAR.
On this basis, the HKSAR exercises a high degree of autonomy, and fully exercises its administrative, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, the white paper said.