The top lawmaking body of China said that Hong Kong courts do not have powers to amend anything under the city's basic law that includes a ban on face masks, according to a state run-media agency on November 19. The statement from China comes just a day after the high court came up with a verdict that a ban on wearing face masks during the protests was unconstitutional. Jian Tiewei, a spokesperson for the Chinese legislative affairs commission said that the Basic Law of Hong Kong can only be decided by the standing committee of the National People's Congress.
Jian Tiewei added that no other authority has the right to make any judgments and decisions. He said that the ruling has a drastic impact on the governance of Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and the city government. Lam proposed a ban on face masks as the pro-democracy protests escalated. Protestors use masks to hide their identity in public. The proposal was widely condemned by the supporters of the anti-government movement who saw it as a risk to demonstrators.
The High Court of Hong Kong on Monday ruled the ban on face masks unconstitutional. The law had been revived from emergency legislation dating back to the British colonial era. Despite the ban, protestors were seen wearing masks many times over the last few weeks. The ruling comes as a blow to the government which is still struggling to control the month-long violent protests in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's executive leader Carrie Lam in October incorporated rarely used emergency powers and banned people from wearing face masks during public assemblies. On the other hand, many protestors defied the ban and continued protests wearing face masks. Meanwhile, violence escalated on Sunday with protestors shooting arrows and pelting petrol bombs and bricks. On the other hand, police countered them with firing tear gas. A riot police officer sustained injuries after being shot in the leg with an arrow.