HKSAR LegCo adopts district councils bill in landmark overhaul

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 7, 2023
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A flag-raising ceremony is held by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to celebrate the 26th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, at the Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong, south China, July 1, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Legislative Council (LegCo) of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Thursday unanimously passed the District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2023 after a third reading, an important milestone of the HKSAR's work on improving district governance.

The amendment work implements the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" at the district governance level to ensure that the district councils (DCs) are firmly in the hands of patriots, and strictly adhere to the positioning under the Basic Law of the HKSAR to carry out advisory and services functions, make due contributions to the HKSAR government's district governance work and effectively respond to the expectations of the public, said HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee.

The bill will be gazetted and come into effect on July 10. It covers six main ordinances and 15 subsidiary ordinances, and establishes provisions on nine key matters, including the functions and composition of the DCs, establishment of the District Council Eligibility Review Committee, and disqualification of DC members.

Lee said the HKSAR government will spare no effort in proceeding with the next stage of work and strive to bring to Hong Kong, on January 1 next year as scheduled, DCs that would start a new chapter together for Hong Kong to truly benefit the public.

The new-term DCs will be composed of appointed, district committees constituency (DCC), district council geographical constituency (DCGC) and ex-officio members, with appointed, DCC and DCGC members accounting for about 40 percent, 40 percent and 20 percent of the total number of members respectively, plus 27 ex-officio members. The total number of district councillors will be 470.

On May 2, Lee announced proposals to improve governance at the district level, including returning the DCs to their original position as non-political power organs to be consulted by the HKSAR government under Article 97 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR.

The District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2023 was published in the gazette on May 30 and introduced into LegCo for the first and second reading the following day. 

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