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港澳辦言論動搖香港基石 法政匯思呼籲港府及議員捍衛高度自治

2020/4/15 — 15:52

作者製圖

作者製圖

1. 國務院港澳事務辦公室(下稱「港澳辦」)於 2020 年 4 月 13 日作出兩項言論(下稱「該等言論」),包括:

A.「我們注意到,香港特區高等法院上訴法庭於 4 月 9 日根據全國人大常委會有關決定,就有關《禁止蒙面規例》的司法复核案作出判決,裁定《緊急情況規例條例》關於行政長官會同行政會議以「危害公共安全」為由訂立緊急情況規例的內容符合基本法…… 糾正了高等法院原訟法庭的原有判決。這有利於行政長官和特區政府依照基本法和香港特區法律有效施政,特別是依法應對處置緊急及危害公共安全的情形,有效止暴制亂、維護社會秩序」; 及

B.「由於主持內務委員會主席選舉的議員和部分反對派議員濫用權力,借程序問題惡意拖延,致使內務委員會在近 6 個月的時間內仍無法選出主席……但是一些反對派議員為了謀取政治私利,卻罔顧公眾利益,採用卑劣手法癱瘓立法機關運作……其所作所為令人質疑有違有關宣誓誓言,構成公職人員行為失當」.

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2. 同日,中央人民政府駐香港特別行政區聯絡辦公室(「中聯辦」)亦發出類似聲明,附和該等言論。

3. 次日,特首在記者招待會中為該等言論辯解,強調港澳辦並無干預香港內部事務。

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4. 該等言論無庸置疑地違背《基本法》及「一國兩制」框架,法政匯思為此深感憂慮。

5. 根據《基本法》:

a. 香港特區實行高度自治,享有行政管理權、立法權和獨立的司法權(第二條);

b. 法院獨立進行審判,不受任何干涉(第八十五條);

c. 立法會議員自行投票決定議員有否違反誓言(第七十九(七)條);

d. 律政司主管刑事檢察工作,不受任何干涉(第六十三條);及

e. 中央人民政府所屬各部門不得干預香港特區自行管理的事務(第二十二條)。

6. 法政匯思認為該等言論是對香港特區政府行政、立法和司法機關的衝擊。

一方面,內地當局胡亂評論香港特區法庭的判決,將破壞獨立司法體系,而司法獨立正是本港經濟發展和社會穩定的基石。

另一方面,抨擊反對派議員行使「拉布」或發表意見的權利,以及向本地政府部門施壓將其控以公職人員行為失當罪,將削弱本港行政和立法兩權。

該等言論反映北京當局干涉香港特區內部事務的手法越趨強硬,亦加深「一國兩制」框架已名存實亡的印象。

7. 此外,法政匯思留意到北京當局屢次有系統地干涉本港的獨立司法體系,趨勢令人擔憂。

去年十一月,國務院副總理韓正表示:「止暴制亂、恢復秩序...是香港行政、立法、司法機關的共同責任」,無疑暗示法院必需主動打壓示威運動。

兩星期後,高等法院裁定《禁止蒙面規例》違憲,而港澳辦將判決抨擊為「公然挑戰全國人大常委會的權威」。

近日港澳辦作出該等言論,或許有同樣意圖干預本港司法體系,以就可能出現《禁止蒙面規例》判決的終極上訴時,對終審法院造成壓力。

8. 港澳辦亦可能嘗試透過指控屬反對陣營的議員「違反誓言」,影響即將舉行的立法會換屆選舉結果。該等言論可被理解為間接向選舉主任施壓,以禁止參與「拉布」的議員在選舉中尋求連任。

9. 「2019 冠狀病毒病」的大流行,將對香港經濟做成嚴重和深遠的影響。港澳辦的該等言論動搖本港的基石,亦即一國兩制框架和基本法,將進一步損害投資者對本港長遠前景的信心,尤其不合時宜。國際評級機構穆迪及惠譽已為香港降級,反映其一評級機構所指「香港管治架構被蠶蝕風險日增」。港澳辦的該等言論只會加深該些憂慮,而該些憂慮已經不止是香港市民的感受,亦見於國際社會之間。港澳辦的該等言論動搖本港的基石,亦即一國兩制框架和基本法,將進一步損害投資者對本港長遠前景的信心,尤其不合時宜。國際評級機構穆迪及惠譽已為香港降級,反映其一評級機構所指「香港管治架構被蠶蝕風險日增」。港澳辦的該等言論只會加深該些憂慮,而該些憂慮已經不止是香港市民的感受,亦見於國際社會之間。

10. 法政匯思一如以往呼籲特區政府捍衛本港的高度自治及守護一國兩制的框架。法政匯思亦向所有立法會議員,不論他們的政治立場及聯繫,發出同樣的呼籲。

法政匯思
2020年4月15日
(PDF:)

Statement on the Remarks Made by the Hong Kong and MacaoAffairs Office of the State Council on 13 April

1. On 13 April 2020, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council (“HKMAO”) issued two statements that said, among other things (the “Remarks”):

A. the Court of Appeal (“CA”), in accordance with the relevant decision(s) of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (“NPCSC”), ruled that the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation (“Anti-Mask Regulation”) was compliant with the Basic Law. The CA’s ruling has rectified the ruling of the High Court and it is favourable to the governance of the Chief Executive and the HKSAR, particularly in curbing violence and restoring order during public danger; and

B. a number of opposition legislators have maliciously filibustered the operation of the Legislative Council (“LegCo”) to delay the election process of returning the House Committee’s chairperson for almost six months. They have abused their power to pursue their own political agenda. The actions of those legislators beg the question of whether they have been acting contrary to the official oath and committing the offence of misfeasance in public office.

2. On the same day, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR echoed the Remarks by issuing its own statements to the same effect.

3. A day later at a press conference, the Chief Executive rejected complaints that in making the Remarks, the HKMAO was intervening in the internal affairs of Hong Kong.

4. The Progressive Lawyers Group (the “PLG”) is deeply troubled by the Remarks, which patently run afoul of the Basic Law (“BL”) and the “one country, two systems” (“1C2S”) framework under which the HKSAR is administered.

5. According to the BL:

A. the HKSAR enjoys a high degree of autonomy through enjoying its own executive, legislative and independent judicial power (Article 2);

B. the courts shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference (Article 85);

C. the LegCo decides whether there is a breach of oath by a legislator through voting by its own members (Article 79(7));

D. the Department of Justice shall control criminal prosecutions, free from any interference (Article 63); and

E. no department of the Central People's Government may interfere in the affairs which the HKSAR administers on its own (Article 22(1)).

6. The PLG believes that the Remarks are an affront to all three branches of the HKSAR government.

On one hand, gratuitous and unwelcome commentary from the mainland authorities on the HKSAR’s judicial decisions undermines the city’s independent judiciary, a bedrock of Hong Kong’s economic success and stability.

On the other hand, attacking opposition lawmakers for exercising their right to filibuster or otherwise make their voices heard in LegCo and putting pressure on the local administration to charge those lawmakers with misfeasance serve to weaken both the legislative and the executive branches.

The Remarks add to a long list of examples of increasingly heavy-handed meddling by Beijing in the HKSAR’s local affairs and reinforce a growing perception that the 1C2S framework exists only in name.

7. Furthermore, the PLG has observed a troubling pattern of systematic interference by Beijing in the city’s independent judiciary.

Last November, Han Zheng, Vice Premier of the PRC, remarked that it was “the common responsibility of Hong Kong’s executive, legislative and judicial bodies” to “stop violence and restore order,” implying that the courts should play an active role in crushing the protest movement.

Two weeks later, after the High Court had ruled that the Anti-Mask Regulation unconstitutional, the HKMAO blasted the ruling as “an open challenge to the NPCSC’s authority.”

It is likely that the Remarks were motivated by a similar desire to intervene in the HKSAR”s judiciary by putting pressure on the Court of Final Appeal, should the CA decision on the Anti-Mask Regulation be appealed to the city’s highest court.

8. It is also possible that by accusing opposition lawmakers of acting “in contrary to their oath,” the HKMAO is trying to influence the outcome of the upcoming LegCo General Elections. The Remarks may be construed as putting indirect pressure on the returning officers to ban filibustering lawmakers who are seeking to be re-elected in the elections.

9. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a serious and far-reaching impact on Hong Kong’s economy. The Remarks are particularly ill-timed in that they will further chip away at investor confidence in the city’s long term viability by shaking the very foundation of the city that is the 1C2S framework and the BL. Already, Moody’s and Fitch have downgraded Hong Kong’s ratings, reflecting what one rating agency called “the rising risk of an erosion in the strength of Hong Kong's institutions.” The Remarks will do nothing but add to those concerns, which are now shared not only by citizens of Hong Kong but also by the international community.

10. The PLG continues to call on the HKSAR Government to safeguard the city’s high degree of autonomy and defend the 1C2S framework. The PLG also calls on all legislators to do the same regardless of their political belief and affiliation.

The Progressive Lawyers Group
15 April 2020
(PDF

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