The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said on Tuesday that it had issued a notice to the Legislative Council (LegCo) indicating its intention to resume the second reading debate of the National Anthem Bill at the LegCo meeting on May 27.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang issued a notice to the LegCo Secretariat on Tuesday on the issue, a spokesman for the HKSAR government's Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said.
Stressing that "the national anthem is the symbol and sign of the country," the spokesman noted that the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress adopted the decision to add the Law of the People's Republic of China on National Anthem (National Anthem Law) to Annex III to the HKSAR Basic Law on Nov. 4, 2017.
In accordance with Article 18 of the Basic Law, the national laws listed in Annex III to the Basic Law shall be applied locally by way of promulgation or legislation by the HKSAR, the spokesman noted. "It is thus the constitutional responsibility of the HKSAR government to implement the National Anthem Law locally."
Having regard to Hong Kong's common law system and the actual circumstances in Hong Kong, the HKSAR government decided to implement the National Anthem Law in Hong Kong by local legislation, the spokesman said.
"The legislative principle of the National Anthem Bill is clear, that is to fully reflect the legislative purpose and intent of the National Anthem Law, a national law, which is to preserve the dignity of the national anthem and promote respect for the national anthem, and at the same time to give due regard to Hong Kong's common law system as well as the actual circumstances in Hong Kong," he added.
The HKSAR government's Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung also wrote to Chairwoman of the LegCo House Committee Starry Lee on Tuesday, indicating the government's intention to resume second reading debate of 10 bills at the LegCo meeting on May 27 and to first proceed with the National Anthem Bill and the Trade Marks (Amendment) Bill 2019 at this juncture.
"The government is pleased to note that the House Committee at its Special Meeting held in the afternoon of May 8 handled a number of bills and subsidiary legislation which had been held in abeyance for seven months," Cheung said.
"The government is also pleased to see that the impasse in the House Committee has been unlocked and will fully cooperate with LegCo in its proceedings on the legislative items in the remainder of the current term of LegCo," he added. Enditem