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No separation of powers mentioned in Basic Law: CE

2020-09-01 HKT 11:37
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  • No separation of powers mentioned in Basic Law: CE
Priscilla Ng reports
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that Hong Kong had no separation of powers and there is no mention of such a thing in the Basic Law.

Speaking to reporters ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said she supported comments made by Education Secretary, Kevin Yeung, the day before while defending the removal from textbooks references about Hong Kong having a division of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary.

“There is no separation of powers in Hong Kong, so I fully support the remark made by Secretary for Education, and I fully support him in the textbook consultation services launched. In the process we’ll be able to better explain the constitutional order in Hong Kong," said Lam.

"Every so often someone will make this a topic – whether there is separation of powers in Hong Kong – they will cite some well-known persons or judges but there is nothing clearer than the Basic Law," she said.

After Yeung made the comment, many people had cited a 2014 speech made by Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma, in which he said, "Basic Law sets out clearly the principle of the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary".

Lam said that society has had a wrong understanding of the Basic Law.

"I have carefully looked at what people from the legal sector said; they were mainly talking about the division of labour, of course in terms of trials and the judicial system, they can act independently," she said.

"This is about the division of labour in terms of their functions under the Basic Law; if you look at the relations amongst the three powers, of course they would perform their duties and carry out their functions, I do agree that there are checks and balances, I can give you a lot of examples"

Referring to the controversy about some textbooks being altered, Lam said: "Liberal Studies is an important subject. To teach it well, you need accurate teaching materials."

"There is a topic in this subject that is about Hong Kong today, there’s no room for debate what Hong Kong's current system is. The Education Bureau took the chance to make it clear, and it’s something that I really appreciate."

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Last updated: 2020-09-01 HKT 16:00