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Executive Council of Hong Kong
Traditional Chinese行政會議
Simplified Chinese行政会议
Pre-handover name
Chinese行政局

The Executive Council of Hong Kong (ExCo) is the cabinet of the Government of Hong Kong, acting as a formal body of advisers to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong that serves as a core policy-making organ assisting the Chief Executive.[1][2] It is analogous to other Executive Councils in the Commonwealth such as the Federal Executive Council of Australia, the Executive Council of New Zealand, and the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.

Under the presidency of the Chief Executive, the Executive Council consists of 21 Official Members (the most senior of these being the Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, head of the Government Secretariat and chair of the Policy Committee), and 16 Non-official Members (also known as ministers without portfolio who are normally leading legislators from pro-establishment political parties) headed by the Convenor of the Non-official Members. The Council normally meets once a week.

History

The Executive Council was set up by the British Hong Kong Government. The first ex officio members were the Colonial Secretary and the Colonial Treasurer in the 1840s. The Attorney General was added in the 1850s. In 1949, the Executive Council had five ex officio members: the senior military officer (Commander of British Forces Overseas), the colonial secretary, the attorney general, the secretary for Chinese affairs and the financial secretary; the Commissioner of Labour, while an 'official' was not an ex officio member. In addition, there were six 'unofficial members': the chief manager of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the Tai-Pan of Jardine's, a solicitor, two barristers, and a physician.[3]

In 1994 the title 'Senior Member' or 'Senior Unofficial Member' was changed to 'Convenor', when Lydia Dunn was succeeded in the post by Rosanna Wong.[4]

The format of the Executive Council was retained after the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 until a ministerial system (named Principal Officials Accountability System or POAS) was introduced in 2002, Tung Chee Hwa's second term of office. Since then all secretaries are political appointees and have to leave the civil service. All secretaries are appointed to the council, transforming the council effectively into a cabinet. Non-official members are minorities in the council, and are like ministers-without-portfolio. The position of convenor was abolished.

In fulfilling his election platform, Chief Executive Sir Donald Tsang appointed eight new non-official members the day after delivering his first policy address on 12 October 2005. Secretaries of bureaux would sit in meetings of the Council when the agenda was related to their portfolio, and the position of convenor was restored. It was presented as a move to re-strengthen the role of the council as a link with the community.

Change in composition

Year Number of
Official Members
exclusive of the
Chief Executive
Number of
Non-official Members
1997 3 11
2002 14 5
2004 14 7
2005 14 15
2007 15 16
2008 15 15
2009 15 16
2012 15 14
2012 15 16
2013 15 14
2015 15 15
2015 16 14
2015 16 16
2016 16 16
2017 16 15
2017 16 16
2022 21 16

Functions

The Executive Council is to advise the Chief Executive in policy-making and the administration of the government. The Chief Executive acting after consultation with the Executive Council is known as Chief Executive in Council.[5]

Under Article 54 of the Basic Law, the Chief Executive must consult the Executive Council before making important policy decisions, introducing bills to the Legislative Council, making delegated legislation, regulating certain public institutions, or dissolving LegCo. The Chief Executive in Council also hears appeals and objections under certain Ordinances.[6] A Chief Executive rejecting a majority opinion of the Executive Council is required to put the specific reasons for the rejection on record.

Composition

The members of Executive Council are appointed by the Chief Executive from among principal officials (heads of department, informally called "ministers"), members of Legislative Council, and public figures. Their appointment and removal is decided by the Chief Executive. There is no fixed term of office, but the term of office of members cannot extend beyond the expiry of that of the Chief Executive who appoints them (Article 55 of the Basic Law).

The council is presided over by the Chief Executive. In addition to the 21 principal officials there are 16 Non-official members. Other than the Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary and Secretary for Justice, official members only sit in meetings that are related to their portfolio. In accordance with the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, the members of the Executive Council should take the Oath of Fidelity after his/her appointment and promise not to reveal any matters being discussed in the council. The aim of this principle was to ensure that the members could speak freely without any fears and pressure, so as to facilitate the Chief Executive to receive prompt and objective advices in the policy making process.[7]

The following list includes all members of the Executive Council in the order of precedence:

Capacity Portrait Member Affiliation Portfolio Assumed office Born in Ref
President John Lee Nonpartisan Chief Executive 1 July 2022 1957
Official Eric Chan Nonpartisan Chief Secretary for Administration 1 July 2022 1959
Official Paul Chan Nonpartisan Financial Secretary 16 January 2017 1955
Official Paul Lam Nonpartisan Secretary for Justice 1 July 2022 1967/1968
Non-official Regina Ip NPP Non-official Convenor of the Executive Council
Member of the Legislative Council
Chairperson of New People's Party
1 July 2017 1950
Official Warner Cheuk Nonpartisan Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration 1 July 2022 1959
Official Michael Wong Nonpartisan Deputy Financial Secretary 1 July 2022 1962
Official Horace Cheung Nonpartisan Deputy Secretary for Justice 1 July 2022 1974
Non-official Arthur Li Nonpartisan Member of the Committee for the Basic Law of the HKSAR under the NPCSC 1 July 2012 1945 [8]
Non-official Jeffrey Lam BPA Member of Legislative Council
Vice-chairman of BPA
17 October 2012 1951
Non-official Tommy Cheung Liberal Member of Legislative Council
Chairman of Liberal Party
25 November 2016 1949
Non-official Martin Liao Nonpartisan Member of Legislative Council 25 November 2016 1957
Non-official Joseph Yam Nonpartisan Executive Vice President of the China Society for Finance and Banking 1 July 2017 1948
Non-official Ronny Tong Path of Democracy Senior Counsel
Convenor of Path of Democracy
1 July 2017 1950
Non-official
LAM Ching-choi 打第二劑科興疫苗 20210322.png
Lam Ching-choi Nonpartisan Chairman of the Elderly Commission 1 July 2017 1960
Official Kevin Yeung Nonpartisan Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism 1 July 2022 1963
Non-official Kenneth Lau BPA Member of Legislative Council
Chairman of Heung Yee Kuk
1 July 2017 1966
Official Erick Tsang Nonpartisan Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs 20 April 2020 1963
Official Christopher Hui DAB Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury 20 April 2020 1977
Official Chris Tang Nonpartisan Secretary for Security 25 June 2021 1965
Non-official Moses Cheng Nonpartisan Chairman of the Council of the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong
Chancellor of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
1 July 2022 1949/1950
Non-official Margaret Leung Nonpartisan Treasurer of the University of Hong Kong 1 July 2022 1952
Non-official Chan Kin-por Nonpartisan Member of the Legislative Council 1 July 2022 1954
Non-official Eliza Chan Nonpartisan Member of the National Committee of CPPCC 1 July 2022 1956/1957
Non-official Ko Wing-man Nonpartisan Former Secretary for Food and Health 1 July 2022 1957
Official Tse Chin-wan Nonpartisan Secretary for Environment and Ecology 1 July 2022 1957/1958
Official Algernon Yau Nonpartisan Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development 1 July 2022 1958/1959
Official Lo Chung-mau Nonpartisan Secretary for Health 1 July 2022 1960/1961
Official Lam Sai-hung Nonpartisan Secretary for Transport and Logistics 1 July 2022 1961/1962
Official Bernadette Linn Nonpartisan Secretary for Development 1 July 2022 1963/1964
Official Winnie Ho Nonpartisan Secretary for Housing 1 July 2022 1964/1965
Official Ingrid Yeung Nonpartisan Secretary for the Civil Service 1 July 2022 1964/1965
Official Christine Choi Nonpartisan Secretary for Education 1 July 2022 1966/1967
Official Dong Sun Nonpartisan Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry 1 July 2022 1966/1967
Non-official Stanley Ng FTU Member of the Legislative Council 1 July 2022 1970
Official Alice Mak FTU Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs 1 July 2022 1970
Official Chris Sun Nonpartisan Secretary for Labour and Welfare 1 July 2022 1971/72
Non-official Gary Chan DAB Member of the Legislative Council 1 July 2022 1976

Source[9]

List of the past Executive Councils

Location

The Executive Council meets in the Lower Block of the Central Government Complex, Tamar. Until 2012, ExCo met in the Main Wing of the Central Government Offices on Government Hill, in Central and below Government House (former residence of the British Governor of Hong Kong).

Prior to the Handover, the Provisional Executive Council of Hong Kong, headed by Tung Chee Hwa, met in Shenzhen or Tung's office on the 11th floor of the Asia Pacific Finance Tower in Hong Kong. Members of the outgoing British Hong Kong ExCo were not permitted to attend this body.

Both Executive Council sittings were on Tuesdays.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Hong Kong – the Facts". GovHK.
  2. ^ Article 54, Hong Kong Basic Law: The Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be an organ for assisting the Chief Executive in policy-making.
  3. ^ Ingrams, Harold, Hong Kong (Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London: 1952), p. 231.
  4. ^ Hong Kong's Journey to Reunification - Memoirs of Chung Sze-yuen, p307, Chinese University Press, 2001, ISBN 962-996-002-8
  5. ^ Section 3, Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1).
  6. ^ Section 64, Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1).
  7. ^ Chan, F. (2021). "Fragmented Politics in Hong Kong—Analyzing the Pro-democracy Cohesion in the Legislative Council Before 2019". East Asia. 38 (3): 249–269. doi:10.1007/s12140-021-09362-1. ISSN 1096-6838. PMC 8031336. PMID 33850414.
  8. ^ "Professor the Honourable Arthur LI Kwok-cheung, GBS, JP". Executive Council of Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 23 June 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  9. ^ Executive Council - Membership of Executive Council, 1 July 2022