LCQ4: Autonomy of youth uniformed groups under the Basic Law
It has been reported that since 2006, 14 youth uniformed groups have been invited to perform the flag-raising ceremony which is held at the Golden Bauhinia Square on the 4th of May each year to commemorate the May Fourth Movement. In early February this year, the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (LOCPG) invited seven of such uniformed groups to a meeting to discuss matters relating to their members giving up the British style of marching that they have all along adopted, and switching to the Chinese style of marching in the said ceremony. Afterwards, all the uniformed groups were requested to provide non-anonymous written replies to indicate the marching style to be adopted in the ceremony. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) as Article 5 of the Basic Law stipulates that the previous capitalist system and way of life of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) shall remain unchanged for 50 years, Article 22 stipulates that no department of the Central People's Government (CPG) and the like may interfere in the affairs which SAR administers on its own in accordance with the Basic Law, and Article 146 stipulates that voluntary organizations providing social services in SAR may on their own decide their forms of service provided that the law is not contravened, whether the Government has assessed if LOCPG's action of getting involved in the marching style to be adopted by the uniformed groups in SAR has constituted a breach of the aforesaid provisions of the Basic Law; if it has assessed and the outcome is in the affirmative, of the measures to be taken by the Government to prevent the recurrence of such situation; if the assessment outcome is in the negative, the justifications for that;
(2) of the policies and measures put in place to uphold the autonomy of the uniformed groups in SAR in their services; and
(3) whether it will consider enacting legislation on Article 22 of the Basic Law to prohibit departments of CPG from interfering in the affairs of SAR; if so, of the details and specific timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Uniformed groups (UGs) are major partners of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government in promoting youth development. At present, the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) provides recurrent subvention to 11 UGs in the community to support their work in promoting youth development, serving over 110 000 young participants. UGs provide various kinds of group activities outside the classroom to help enhance confidence, discipline and leadership skills of young people; build up their physical fitness; and at the same time offer them opportunities for participating in voluntary community service and outbound exchange activities to widen their horizons and develop positive values.
Having consulted the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, our consolidated reply to Hon Yeung's question is as follows:
(1) & (2) Being independent and autonomous community organisations, UGs implement diverse youth development activities and trainings, having regard to their own background, vision and characteristics. Since 2014-15, HAB has signed a Memorandum of Administrative Arrangements (MAA) with each subvented UG to ensure the effective use of public resources. The MAA provides that a UG shall be autonomous in the management and control of its operations and activities.
The May Fourth Flag Raising Ceremony to be held next month at the Golden Bauhinia Square, organised by the Committee of Youth Activities in Hong Kong, is a key event for young people to commemorate the May Fourth Movement and promote its spirit. As in the past, the arrangements of the event are determined by the organiser and the participating UGs.
Hon Yeung's question specifically mentions the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (LOCPG). The LOCPG is an office set up by the Central People's Government in the HKSAR. Its main functions include promoting economic, educational, scientific and technological, cultural and athletic exchanges and co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland; and liaising with various sectors of the community of Hong Kong to enhance exchanges between the Mainland and Hong Kong. Therefore, the LOCPG would liaise and communicate with various sectors of the community in Hong Kong, having regard to its operational needs. We note that the LOCPG has made a public response in February 2018 on issues relating to the May Fourth Flag Raising Ceremony at the Golden Bauhinia Square, in which it was stated that the views of every UG would be fully respected.
(3) Since the establishment of the HKSAR, the HKSAR Government and the offices set up by the Central People's Government in the HKSAR have been acting in strict accordance with the basic policies of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, as well as complying with the provisions of the Basic Law in performing their respective duties. The HKSAR Government has no plan to enact legislation on Article 22 of the Basic Law.
Ends/Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:13
Issued at HKT 14:13