Beijing's office overseeing Hong Kong and Macau affairs will come under the purview of the party's Central Committee, instead of the State Council.
In a plan on reforming party and state institutions published on Thursday, the central government said it was forming a work office based on the existing Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.
The office, overseen by the Central Committee, is committed to overlooking matters, such as the implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, the implementation of the central authorities' overall governing power, and Hong Kong and Macau's integration into the nation's development.
Despite the change, the name of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office will be retained.
The newly elected Hong Kong delegate to the National People's Congress Standing Committee, Starry Lee, said the change shows how highly-valued the two SARs are.
"Through various speeches delivered by President Xi Jinping, he emphasised strongly that One Country Two Systems is a good system that we should carry on," she said.
"He always emphasised that we have to maintain our own uniqueness. Of course, we have to better integrate into our nation, in particular the Greater Bay Area."
"I don't think this modification or this adjustment will have any changes to all these messages...It shows that the central government do place more emphasis on Hong Kong and Macau affairs."
Chief Executive John Lee, for his part, vowed to lead his administration to maintain effective communication with the new office, to let the central government fully understand the situation in the SAR.
Last updated: 2023-03-16 HKT 22:06