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China adopts interpretation of Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR

Updated: Nov 7,2016 11:36 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s top legislature on Nov 7 adopted an interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) by a unanimous vote.

Article 104 of the Basic Law stipulates: “When assuming office, the chief executive, principal officials, members of the executive council and of the legislative council, judges of courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.”

According to the interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law, “To uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” and to bear “allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” are not only the legal content which must be included in the oath prescribed by the Article, but also the legal requirements and preconditions for standing for election in respect of or taking up the public office specified in the Article.

Oath taking is the legal prerequisite and required procedure for public officers specified in the Article to assume office, it said.

No public office shall be assumed, no corresponding powers and functions shall be exercised, and no corresponding entitlements shall be enjoyed by anyone who fails to lawfully and validly take the oath or who declines to take the oath, it spelled out.

An oath taker must take the oath sincerely and solemnly, and must accurately, completely and solemnly read out the oath prescribed by law, the content of which includes “will uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”, according to the interpretation.

An oath taker is disqualified forthwith from assuming the public office specified in the Article if he or she declines to take the oath, the interpretation said.

An oath taker who intentionally reads out words which do not accord with the wording of the oath prescribed by law, or takes the oath in a manner which is not sincere or not solemn, shall be treated as declining to take the oath. The oath so taken is invalid and the oath taker is disqualified forthwith from assuming the public office specified in the Article, it added.

The oath must be taken before the person authorized by law to administer the oath. The person administering the oath has the duty to ensure that the oath is taken in a lawful manner, the interpretation read.

The taking of the oath stipulated by Article 104 of the Basic Law is a legal pledge made by the public officers specified in the Article and is legally binding, it said.

The oath taker must sincerely believe in and strictly abide by the relevant oath prescribed by law. An oath taker who makes a false oath, or, who, after taking the oath, engages in conduct in breach of the oath, shall bear legal responsibility in accordance with law, it added.

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