Provisional Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
|Established||25 January 1997|
|Disbanded||30 June 1998|
|Preceded by||Colonial Legislative Council|
|Succeeded by||Legislative Council HKSAR|
|Plurality-at-large by Selection Committee|
| Huaxia Art Centre (February–June 1997)|
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (1 July 1997)
Legislative Council Building (1 July 1997 – 30 June 1998)
|Provisional Legislative Council|
The Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) was the interim legislature of Hong Kong that operated from 1997 to 1998. The legislature was founded in Guangzhou and sat in Shenzhen from 1996 (with offices in Hong Kong) until the handover in 1997 and moved to Hong Kong to serve as the temporary replacement of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. It was established by the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by resolution at its Second Plenary Session on 24 March 1996. The 60 members of the PLC were elected on 21 December 1996 by the 400-member Selection Committee for the First Government of the HKSAR, which also elected the first Chief Executive. The official start date for this council was on 25 January 1997.
When the Hong Kong Basic Law was promulgated on 4 April 1990, the National People's Congress (NPC) issued a decision on the same day on the formation of the first government and legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. 1The decision and the Basic Law envisioned the Legislative Council returned from the 1995 Hong Kong legislative election to continue operating until 1998, when the next legislative election would be due. :
The NPC decided that the first legislature was to be formed according to "principles of State sovereignty and smooth transition". 375 If the composition of the last colonial Legislative Council conforms to the NPC decision and the Basic Law, its members automatically become members of the first post-handover Legislative Council, provided that they uphold the Basic Law, plead allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and meet the requirements of the Basic Law.More specifically, the first legislature was to have 60 members, 20 of which returned from direct geographical constituency elections, 30 members from functional constituencies and 10 members returned by an election committee. :
The automatic transition (or the "through-train" model) 375 was abandoned on 31 August 1994, when the NPC decided the 1995 Legislative Council would end with British sovereignty over Hong Kong. The policy changed when the Hong Kong government decided the 1995 legislature would be formed with a new electoral formula from the 1994 electoral reform announced by Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten in October 1992. Although the new formula expanded Hong Kong's electoral base, it conformed with the seat composition described in the NPC decision by only allowing 33 percent of seats to be elected through universal suffrage. :28 This was possible only because decision did not define the election committee and the functional constituency electorate. :600:
The electoral reform created nine functional constituencies that gave paid labourers voting rights and abolished voting by corporations, which could vote in the old functional constituencies. 601 As a result, the number of voters in the functional constituencies increased to about 2.7 million from 104,609. :601 The reform also defined the election committee to consist of district board members, who were themselves elected by universal suffrage. :601:
China did not recognise the Legislative Council returned after the electoral reform. It stated the new composition violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and the NPC decision made in 1990. 375 It also stated the reforms were introduced unilaterally, and China was not consulted on the change in seat composition. :1:
Negotiations between the British and Chinese governments on the legislative transition began in April 1993, but ended in November 1993 without a consensus. 2 On 2 July 1993, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) formed the Preliminary Working Committee, :2 an organisation that prepared for the establishment of the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1996. According to legal scholar Albert Chen, the PLC was an idea of the Preliminary Working Committee. :2:
On 26 January 1996, the Preparatory Committee was formed in accordance with the 1990 NPC decision. 6 At its second plenary session on 24 March 1996, the Preparatory Committee established the PLC. :6 The PLC's composition was consistent with the 1990 NPC decision, but all members were to be chosen by the Selection Committee. :375 By the end of 1996, all 60 members of the PLC had been chosen by the selection committee controlled by China. The Democratic Party boycotted the PLC and criticised it for being undemocratic, while politicians Tsang Yok-sing, Elsie Tu, Dominic Chan and Peggy Lam gained a seat.:
The Provisional Legislative Council convened its first meeting on 25 January 1997 at the Shenzhen Guesthouse Hotel in Shenzhen. At the meeting, it elected its first president, Rita Fan. [ citation needed ]From 1 July 1997 to 1998, it sat at the then Legislative Council Building in Hong Kong.
Council committees and the LegCo Secretariat sat at various locations, including[ citation needed ]:
The Council held 60 meetings, 17 motions and passed 13 bills introduced by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.[ citation needed ] The Legco Secretariat offices were on the 3rd Floor of the Huaxia Art Centre.[ citation needed ]
The president of the PLC was Rita Fan, who later led the legislative council following the handover.[ citation needed ]
The only officer found in the records was for the Clerk, Pauline Ng Man-Wah. Immediately after the Provisional Legislative Council was disbanded, she became the clerk of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. She retired from this position on 28 August 2012.
The legislative functions of the PLC are described by the Preparatory Committee in 1996. 375:
Sessions of the PLC were broadcast with assistance from the Shenzhen Television Station.
The PLC is neither referred to in the Basic Law nor the Joint Declaration as their drafters assumed the last colonial legislative session would automatically become the Special Administrative Region's first legislature. 546 The legality of the PLC was challenged in the case HKSAR v Ma Wai Kwan decided by the Court of Appeal on 29 July 1997. The defendants argued that the PLC was unlawful because it did not satisfy the Basic Law's definition of Hong Kong's legislature in Annex II. :546 The court dismissed the argument. Among other reasons, the court held that as a local court it had no power to review an act of a sovereign authority. :633 The court reasoned that since Article 19 of the Basic Law did not expand its judicial powers and that it had no power to review the validity of a sovereign act under colonial rule, it did not hold such power after the handover. :633 While Justice Gerald Nazareth agreed with the majority decision, he questioned whether the constitutional structure of China and that of the United Kingdom were analogous. He also noted there was no "detailed review" of the Chinese constitution during the trial. :352–353 Johannes Chan commented that the lack of judicial review power to review acts of Parliament reflected parliamentary supremacy, a doctrine borne out of unwritten constitutional systems. :376 Since China has a written constitution and that the Basic Law describes the relationship between Hong Kong and the central government unlike the colonial Letters Patent and the Royal Instructions, Chan questioned whether parliamentary supremacy still fully applies in Hong Kong after 1997. :377:
The politics of Hong Kong takes place in a framework of a political system dominated by its quasi-constitutional document, the Hong Kong Basic Law, its own legislature, the Chief Executive as the head of government and of the Special Administrative Region and of a politically constrained multi-party presidential system. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is led by the Chief Executive, the head of government.
The chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is the representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and head of the Government of Hong Kong. The position was created to replace the office of governor of Hong Kong, the representative of the monarch of the United Kingdom during British rule. The office, stipulated by the Hong Kong Basic Law, formally came into being on 1 July 1997 when the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China.
The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (LegCo) is the unicameral legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
Elections in Hong Kong take place when certain political offices in the government need to be filled. Every four years, half of the unicameral Legislative Council of Hong Kong's seventy seats representing the geographical constituencies are returned by the electorate; the other thirty five seats representing the functional constituencies are elected through smaller closed elections within business sectors.
Legislative elections are held in Hong Kong whenever the Legislative Council needs renewal.
The Election Committee is a Hong Kong electoral college, the function of which is to select the Chief Executive (CE) and beginning in 2021 to elect 40 members the 90 members of the Legislative Council. Established by Annex I of the Basic Law of Hong Kong which states that "the Chief Executive shall be elected by a broadly representative Election Committee in accordance with this Law and appointed by the Central People's Government ." It is formed and performs its selection function once every five years, even in the event of a CE not completing their term. It had 1,200 members for the 2017 election but was expanded to 1,500 members in March 2021. The Election Committee has been criticised for its "small-circle" electoral basis and its composition favouring pro-Beijing and business interests.
Chan Kam-lam, GBS, JP is a former member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong representing the Kowloon East constituency. He is also a core member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), the largest pro-Beijing party in Hong Kong.
Establishment Day, formally the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day, is celebrated annually on 1 July in Hong Kong, China since 1997. The holiday commemorates the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The similarly-named holiday in Macau occurs on 20 December, the day of its handover from Portugal.
The 1996 Hong Kong Chief Executive election was held on 11 December 1996 to select the first Chief Executive (CE) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) which term started from 1 July 1997 after the Chinese resumption of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from the British rule. It was selected by the 400-member Selection Committee installed by the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Tung Chee-hwa, a Shanghai-born Hong Kong businessman who was seen being favoured by Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, was the ultimate winner of the election, defeating former Chief Justice Ti-liang Yang and tycoon Peter Woo with a large margin.
The 1998 Hong Kong Legislative Council election was held on 24 May 1998 for members of the 1st Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo) since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in 1997. Replacing the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) strictly controlled by the Beijing government and boycotted by the pro-democracy camp, the elections returned 20 members from directly elected geographical constituencies, 10 seats from the Election Committee constituency and 30 members from functional constituencies, of which 10 were uncontested.
The 1996 Hong Kong Provisional Legislative Council election was held on 21 December 1996 for the members of the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC). The 60 members of the PLC was elected by the Selection Committee, a 400-member body elected by the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, a Beijing-appointed body which was responsible for implementation work related to the establishment of the HKSAR.
Ngai Shiu-kit, OBE, SBS, JP was a Hong Kong entrepreneur and a former member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (1985–97) for the Industrial (Second) constituency, representing the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong and Provisional Legislative Council. He was also a Hong Kong delegate for the 9th National People's Congress from 1998 to 2003.
The 1994 Hong Kong electoral reform was a set of significant constitutional changes in the last years of British colonial rule in Hong Kong before the handover of its sovereignty to the People's Republic of China (PRC) on 1 July 1997. The reform aimed at broadening the electorate base of the three-tiers elections in 1994 and 1995, namely the 1994 District Board elections, the 1995 Urban and Regional Council elections and the 1995 Legislative Council election. It was the flagship policy of the last colonial governor Chris Patten.
The First Legislative Council of Hong Kong was the first meeting of the legislative branch of the HKSAR government after the handover of Hong Kong, replacing the Provisional Legislative Council existing between 1997 and 1998. The membership of the LegCo is based on the 1998 election. The term of the session was from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 2000, only two years unlike the latter legislative session of four years. The legislature was held during the first term of the Tung Chee-hwa's administration. The pro-democracy camp who did not participate in the Provisional Legislative Council held 20 seats with Democratic Party being the largest party. Notable newcomers to the Legislative Council included Cyd Ho, Bernard Chan, Lui Ming-wah, and Wong Yung-kan.
The Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions (HKFLU) established in 1984, is the third largest trade union in Hong Kong next to Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, having 82 trade unions and more than 60,000 members in total. The federation was established in 1984.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Basic Law Drafting Committee (BLDC) was formed in June 1985 for the drafts of the Hong Kong Basic Law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) after 1997. It was formed as a working group under the National People's Congress. The Drafting Committee had 59 members, of whom 23 were from Hong Kong and 36 were from Mainland, mostly the PRC government officials. The Drafting Committee was dominated by Hong Kong businessmen with a share from different social sectors. The decisions of the Drafting Committee on the political structure and legal system of the HKSAR had a great impact on the politics of Hong Kong today.
Dorothy Liu Yiu-chu was a prominent Hong Kong pro-Beijing politician and lawyer. She was well known for her independent and outspoken image, as she was one of the few members of the pro-Beijing camp who was willing to stand up to Beijing.
The 2021 Hong Kong Legislative Council election is scheduled on 19 December 2021 for the 7th Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo). Under the new framework imposed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), the electoral system was drastically changed. The total number of the Legislative Council seats would be increased from 70 to 90 seats, 20 of which are from the directly elected geographical constituencies (GCs), which were scrapped from 35; 30 seats remain from the trade-based indirectly elected functional constituencies (FCs); while an extra number of 40 seats will be elected by the Election Committee.
The concept of separation of powers has been considered and disputed in Hong Kong and its various forms of government. Prior to the Handover of Hong Kong in 1997, the government of British Hong Kong did not have a Western-style separation of powers. The post-handover Hong Kong Basic Law does not explicitly prescribe a separation of powers, but allocates power to the Executive Council, Legislative Council, and Judiciary. Since the 1997 handover, whether the separation of powers principle exists within the Hong Kong political system has been disputed among the Hong Kong Government, Government of China, and public media.
The Decision of the National People's Congress on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was enacted on 11 March 2021 by the National People's Congress (NPC), the sole legislative body of the People's Republic of China (PRC), to rewrite the electoral rules, imposing a much restrictive electoral system on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for its Chief Executive (CE) and the Legislative Council (LegCo), claiming to ensure a system of "patriots governing Hong Kong."