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Research Guides

Hong Kong Basic Law Portal

Provide UTL & Internet resources for the research of the Hong Kong Basic Law, which is the constitutional basis for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Timeline for the drafting, promulgating and implementing of the Hong Kong Basic Law

1978 – 1979

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) expressed its intention to adopt the policy known as “One Country, Two Systems” for the reunification of China.

1982 – 1984

Chinese and British governments negotiated the future of Hong Kong after 1997 when the lease of Hong Kong to the British government would expire. An agreement was reached for the handover of Hong Kong to PRC and on 19 December 1984, a Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed by the Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Beijing.

1985 – 1990

The Basic Law was drafted by the Drafting Committee of 59 members. It was revised twice after two rounds of consultation with Hong Kong people through the Consultative Committee.  The Basic Law of HKSAR was adopted at the Third Session of the Seventh National People’s Congress (NPC) on 4 April 1990.


HKSAR was established on 1 July 1997 according to the Basic Law which has become effective since then.


The Government of HKSAR asked the Standing Committee of the NPC (NPCSC) for the interpretation of the Basic Law related to the right of abode for the children of Hong Kong residents born in Mainland China. The interpretation of the NPCSC was different from the interpretation of the same provision by the Court of Final Appeal of the HKSAR in the Ng Ka Ling case.


The NPCSC, on 29 December 2007, adopted the decision on issues relating to the methods for the selection of the Chief Executive and for the forming of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR in the year 2012 and on issues relating to universal suffrage. The decision stated that that the Chief Executive may be elected by universal suffrage in 2017 and all members of the Legislative Council may be elected by universal suffrage as early as 2020 after the Chief Executive has been selected by a system of universal suffrage.


The HKSAR Government formed a task force on 17 October 2013 to study and draft the public consultation paper on the  systems of elections for the Chief Executive by universal suffrage in 2017 and for the Legislative Council in 2016. The HKSAR Government stated clearly that any proposal must adhere strictly to the  Basic Law and conform to  the decisions of the NPCSC.