'Only Beijing can rule on HK's Basic Law' - RTHK
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'Only Beijing can rule on HK's Basic Law'

2019-11-19 HKT 09:07
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  • The High Court ruled a ban on masks to be unconstitutional. Photo: AP
    The High Court ruled a ban on masks to be unconstitutional. Photo: AP
Beijing's top legislative affairs body has criticised a decision by Hong Kong's High Court to rule the SAR's emergency anti-mask law unconstitutional, insisting that only the national legislature can make rulings on constitutionality.

The High Court ruled on Monday that the ban on masks at any kind of assembly, implemented under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance last month, was excessive and that the law was unconstitutional.

However in a statement reported by state media on Tuesday, Jian Tiewei, a spokesman for the legislative affairs commission of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said that both the national constitution and the Basic Law provided the constitutional basis for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

He said that on this basis, the question of whether any Hong Kong law was constitutional or not could be judged only by the NPC.

"Hong Kong High Court's ruling severely weakened the governance of the Hong Kong chief executive and SAR government," Jian said.

"We are considering the relevant opinions and suggestions put forward by some NPC deputies," he said, without elaborating.

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office also expressed concern at the "serious negative social impact of the ruling on the judicial review of the anti-mask regulation".

In their ruling on Monday, judges Godfrey Lam and Anderson Chow wrote: "We consider it to be clear that the measure adopted exceeds what is reasonably necessary to achieve the aim of law enforcement, investigation and prosecution of violent protesters even in the prevailing turbulent circumstances in Hong Kong, and that it fails to strike a reasonable balance between the societal benefits promoted and the inroads made into the protected rights."

The Hong Kong government said after the ruling that it would no longer enforce the ban. (Additional reporting by AFP)
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Last updated: 2019-11-19 HKT 10:32