TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A day after Hong Kong's High Court ruled that a ban on face masks was unconstitutional, China's top legislature ignored the basic tenets of the Basic Law and claimed the court had no jurisdiction in interpreting the law.
On Oct. 5, Lam announced the Prohibition On Face Covering Regulation, which was derived from the colonial era Emergency Regulations Ordinance. On Monday (Nov. 18) Hong Kong's High court ruled that a ban on face masks imposed by the Special Administrative Region's (SAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam was "incompatible with the Basic Law," the mini-constitution that has been in place since Hong Kong's handover to China in 1997, reported the South China Morning Post.
In response, China’s top legislature on Tuesday (Nov. 19) claimed that Hong Kong's courts do not have the authority to rule on the constitutionally of laws under the Basic Law. In a statement released on Tuesday, Yan Tanwei, a spokesman for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), said, “Whether the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region comply with the Basic Law of Hong Kong can only be judged and decided by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress."
He added that "No other authority has the right to make judgments and decisions." Zang Tiewei, a spokesperson for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, claimed that in accordance with Article 8 of the Basic Law, "the laws previously in force in Hong Kong, including the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, shall be maintained except for those that contravene the Basic Law of the HKSAR or that have been amended by the legislative body of the HKSAR."
However, the Hong Kong court ruled that the ban imposed by Lam that was based on the Emergency Regulations Ordinance resulted in restrictions on "fundamental rights," went "further than is reasonably necessary," and did not meet the "proportionality test." Furthermore, Article 2 of the Basic Law states that Hong Kong is authorized to "exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power."