The state may establish special administrative regions when
necessary. The systems to be instituted in special administrative
regions shall be prescribed by law enacted by the National People's
Congress in the light of specific conditions.
I. Legal and administrative positions of special administrative
1. Special administrative regions are local administrative
regions of the People's Republic of China
The Basic Laws of special administrative regions shall be drawn by
the National People's Congress.
Legislative councils in special administrative regions may,
according to specification in the Basic Laws and established
procedures, draw up regional laws but such laws must be reported to
the National People's Congress for the record.
The chief executives of special administrative regions are elected
or selected through consultation locally and appointed by the
Special administrative regions do not exercise the rights of state
sovereignty. Foreign affairs in special administrative regions are
administered by the Central Government. Defense affairs in the
regions fall under the responsibility of the Central
The National People's Congress has the right to declare the state
of war in special administrations regions of Hong Kong and Macao.
The Central Government may issue orders specifying the
implementation of national laws in special administrative
When deeming that the laws drawn by legislature councils in special
administrative regions do not conform to the articles in the Basic
Laws, the National People's Congress may recall the laws, but not
make revisions of them. Under such circumstances, the laws
immediately go out of effect.
Governments of special administrative regions shall, on their own
initiative, forbid any acts of treason, split of the country,
instigation of rebellion, subversion of the Central Government and
stealing of state secrets, forbid foreign political organizations
or groups to conduct political activities in special administrative
regions, forbid political organizations and groups in the special
administrative regions to establish contact with foreign political
organizations and groups.
2. High degree of self-government in special administrative
Special administrative regions may exercise social, economic,
political and cultural systems different from those on the mainland
regions of the People's Republic of China.
Laws drawn by the National People's Congress and its Standing
Committee may not be enforced in special administrative regions,
except those which concern national defense, foreign affairs and
involve national unification and territorial integrity and which do
not concern the scope of self-government in special administrative
The Central Government and its organs, provinces, autonomous
regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government
shall not interfere in the affairs of self-government by special
administrative regions according to law.
Legislative councils and government organs of special
administrative regions are to be composed of local residents.
Legislative councils of special administrative regions may enact,
abrogate and revise laws so long as such laws do not contradict the
Basic Laws for the special administrative regions.
Special administrative regions enjoy the power of final
Revenues of special administrative regions shall not be turned over
to the Central Government which does not collect taxes in special
administrative regions either.
Special administrative regions may, in their own name, maintain and
develop economic and culture ties with foreign countries, regions
and international organizations, conclude bilateral or
multi-lateral agreements on economics, culture, science and
technology, join various non-governmental international
organizations and independently issue travel documents into and out
of special administrative regions.
II. The political system in special administrative
1. The chief executive
(1) The status and qualifications of the chief executive
The chief executive of a special administrative region is the
leader of the region and represents the region.
The chief executive of a special administrative region is
responsible to the Central Government and the special
The chief executive of a special administrative region must be a
permanent citizen of the special administrative region, who has
reached full 40 years in age, resided in the special administrative
region for an accumulative period of 20 years and has no rights of
abode in foreign countries.
The chief executive of a special administration region is selected
by election or consultation and appointed by the Central
The chief executive of a special administration region serves for a
term of five years and may serve a second term.
Under one or more of the following conditions, the chief executive
Being unable to perform his or her functions because of serious
illness or other reasons;
Having twice refused to sign laws enacted by the legislative
council so as to dismiss the legislative council, still refusing to
sign the law when the reelected legislative council has passed the
original bill in dispute with a two-thirds majority; and/or
Dismissing the legislative council when the latter refuses to pass
the financial budget or other important bills, and the reelected
legislative council continues its refusal to pass the bills in
When the chief executive is temporarily unable to perform his or
her functions, secretaries of various departments of the government
of the special administrative region may take turns to serve as the
acting chief executive.
(2) The functions and powers of the chief executive
To exercise leadership over the government of the special
To be responsible for the implementation of the Basic Law and other
To sign acts adopted by the legislative council and promulgate the
To sign the decision on financial budget adopted by the legislative
council and send the financial budget and final accounting to the
Central Government for the record;
To decide on policies of the government and promulgate
To nominate and report to the Central Government for appointment
major officials such as the directors and vice directors of various
departments of the government;
To appoint judges of the courts at various levels and public
servants according to legally prescribed procedures;
To carry out orders the Central Government issues concerning
affairs stipulated by the Basic Law;
To conduct foreign affairs and other affairs delegated by the
Central Government on behalf of the special administrative
10) To approve decisions on financial revenues and expenditures to
be submitted to the legislative council;
11) To decide whether government officials or other personnel
engaged in government affairs should testify and provide evidence
to the legislative council, upon consideration of security and
12) To offer amnesty or reduce punishment of criminals; and
13) To deal with petitions and appeals.
2. Administrative organs
(1) Administrative organs of special administrative
The administrative organ of a special administrative region is the
government of the special administrative region.
The chief executive is the highest leader of the government of a
special administrative region.
The government of a special administrative region is made up of
departments, bureaus, offices and commissions.
Major officials of the government of a special administrative
region shall be permanent Chinese citizens who have lived in the
special administrative region for an accumulative period of 15
(2) The functions and powers of administrative regions
The administrative organ of a special administrative region
exercises the following functions and powers:
To formulate and implement policies;
To administer various administrative affairs;
To conduct foreign affairs delegated by the Central Government;
To draw up and put forward financial budget and final accounting;
to propose bills, draft laws and auxiliary regulations; and
To send officials to sit in sessions of the legislative council and
speak on behalf of the administrative organ.
The administrative organ is responsible to the legislative
The administrative organ implements laws enacted by the legislative
It makes report on the government to the legislative council on
It answers inquires of members of the legislative council; and
Its acts of taxation and public expenditure must be approved by the
3. The legislative council
(1) The position and powers of the legislative council
The legislative council of a special administrative region is the
law making body for the special administrative region.
The legislative council also exercises the following power apart
from making laws:
To examine and evaluate the financial budget;
To approve taxation and public expenditure;
To hear and debate the report by the chief executive on the work of
To make inquires on the work of the administrative organ;
To impeach the chief executive according to legal process if the
chief executive has committed serious violations of law or
dereliction of duty; and
To agree on the appointment and removal of judges of the court of
final appeal and the chief judge of the high court.
(2) The creation and term of office of the legislative
The legislative council is made up by Chinese citizens without
right of abode in foreign countries who live permanently in the
special administrative region.
Non-Chinese permanent residents of a special administrative region
and permanent residents of a special administrative region with the
right of abode in foreign countries may also serve as members of
the legislative council but they shall not make up more than 20
percent of the total number of legislative council members.
The creation of the legislative council includes direct election
and indirect election. Members of the legislative council are
elected directly by electorates and indirectly by functional
organizations and election committees. Members elected in both ways
together constitute the legislative council.
The legislative council serves a term of four years except the
first legislative council of a special administrative region which
serves two years.
4. Judicial organs
The judicial organs that existed before the special administrative
region was established can continue to exist. The only change in
the judicial organs is brought about by the creation of the court
of final appeal.