Article 158 of the Basic Law does, however, give the congress the final authority over interpreting whether the Basic Law conflicts with national law. It also calls on Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal to seek the legislature’s interpretation in considering cases whose legal significance extends to national issues.
The statement suggested that Beijing was prepared to act decisively to restore the mask ban, but the implications could be much greater, showing that there are limits of the national government’s tolerance for an independent judicial system that has been a pillar of Hong Kong’s singular political and economic status.
In another statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Chinese government’s office that handles Hong Kong affairs, Yang Guang, also criticized the court’s decision to overturn the ban, saying it had “a gravely negative social impact” and “brazenly challenged the authority of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and the governance powers of the chief executive conferred by the law.”
New chief calls on public to condemn protesters.
Hong Kong’s embattled police force, once regarded as “Asia’s finest,” has a new boss.
Tang Ping-keung, formerly the territory’s No. 2 police official, was named commissioner of police on Tuesday after approval from the central government in Beijing.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Mr. Tang blamed the public for tolerating the protests and in turn encouraging their violent acts. “If everyone had come out earlier to condemn the violence, society would not have turned into this state in five months,” he said.
“We can only end the unrest with society’s condemnation, reflection by the rioters, plus our appropriate tactics,” he added.
Mr. Tang also rejected a key demand of the protesters: setting up an independent commission to investigate police conduct during the protests.
“Our staff might think they are being particularly targeted if the well-established mechanism is bypassed. We will be disappointed,” he told the Post.