Veteran democrat Martin Lee on Monday rejected suggestions that the Chinese constitution takes primacy over Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, saying that if this was the case then the HKSAR would be "practising socialism and socialist policies".
The Basic Law, which sets out Beijing's policies towards the SAR, and the concept of "One Country, Two Systems", and "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy" has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years.
Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, recently said that people need to understand that the Chinese constitution was the "root and source" of Hong Kong's Basic Law.
However, Lee, the founding chairman of the Democratic Party, and a member of the Basic Law Drafting Committee from 1985 to 1989, rejected Lam's suggestion.
Lee said that under Article 104 of the Basic Law, all key government officials, legislators and members of the judiciary had to take an oath of office "first upholding the Basic Law, but - note - not upholding the Chinese constitution", and were also required to swear allegiance to the HKSAR - "not to the PRC - the country".
He said this made it clear what the priority of those taking the oath had to be - upholding the Basic Law, not the Chinese constitution - and he rejected the idea that the "mother constitution trumps, effectively, our Basic Law".
If this was true "then we should be practising socialism and socialist policies because that is required of the whole country under the constitution," Lee said.
He added: "The [Chinese] constitution only governs [the] mainland, and the Basic Law governs Hong Kong. You cannot say that [it] is the mother constitution."