President of the Law Society of Hong Kong Melissa Pang said on Tuesday that the Chinese constitution is “supreme,” echoing a similar statement by the legal chief of the China Liaison Office days earlier.
Pang, who took office in June, said at a press event that the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China is “definitely valid in Hong Kong,” because the city is a part of Chinese territory and the Basic Law is derived from the PRC Constitution.
“When we look at Basic Law, it is very clear that they are talking about national law shall not be applied in Hong Kong SAR,” Pang said. “However the China constitution is not just a national law. It’s the supreme law.”
“This is the source of law where Hong Kong SAR is established. And the China constitution is actually the fundamental law of China, and it has supreme legal authority. So it’s just not a normal national law,” she added.
Wang Zhenmin, the top legal official at the China Liaison Office, said last Saturday that the PRC Constitution applies to Hong Kong “automatically” on any matters not covered by the Basic Law. When asked about Wang’s statement, Pang did not respond directly.
Pang said the Basic Law is still in force in Hong Kong, but “one country can only have one constitution” and the PRC Constitution is the “root” of all Chinese law.
Article 18(2) of the Basic Law states that national laws shall not be applied in Hong Kong except those listed in Annex III, such as the national flag and emblem law.
Pang also declined to comment on the potential ban on the Hong Kong National Party, saying she needed more time to confer with colleagues.
“The Societies Ordinance… includes details on how it should be enforced. We should focus on what factors were considered during law enforcement, to see whether the [government’s] powers were suitably exercised,” Pang said.
Pang was the sole candidate for Law Society president in this year’s election, becoming the first female leader of the professional body of solicitors. She met with reporters on Tuesday alongside deputies Chan Chak-ming, Amirali Nasir and Brian Gilchrist.