HKUL > Digital Initiatives > Basic Law Drafting History Online

Basic Law Drafting History Online

Our aims in creating BLDHO

The idea for this database arose during the 2005 constitutional debate concerning the term of office of the new Chief Executive. The debate demonstrated the critical importance of the original drafting materials to the proper understanding of the Basic Law. Some of the materials, upon which the Chinese and Hong Kong governments relied, were not accessible to ordinary members of the public. This lack of access raised the further issues of how much of the drafting materials were publicly available in Hong Kong and how could they be accessed. Research later revealed that no official set of the complete drafting materials existed within Hong Kong, the available drafting materials were scattered amongst different libraries, and a substantial quantity of drafting materials, particularly those from the sub-groups of the Basic Law Drafting Committee, was unavailable.

Against this background, the aims of BLDHO are three-fold:
(a) to provide an valuable resource for researchers interested in the history of Hong Kong's Basic Law;
(b) to promote greater transparency and accessibility in respect of the drafting materials; and
(c) to aid the ongoing search for and identification of the remaining unavailable drafting materials.

BLDHO is a research output of the Constitutional Law Project funded by the University of Hong Kong's URC Strategic Research Areas and Themes initiative. I wish to thank Agnes Liu for her excellent research work and to Dave Low for his tireless efforts in developing the system. Thanks also to the HKU Libraries people, particularly David Palmer, Irene Shieh and Iris Chan, for their wonderful cooperative efforts. I also thank Alex Cheng, Bonnie Cheng, Seren Tang, Peter Chau, Lison Harris, Angela Lai, Ernest Ng, Pinky Choy and Xing Fei for all their helpful research and other assistance. I am also grateful for the support and advice from Johannes Chan, Albert Chen, Yash Ghai, P.Y. Lo and others who have provided feedback on the system.

Help us take BLDHO to the next level

In the next release, we would like to enable full-text searching of the drafting materials. More long-term ideas include the translation of the documents from Chinese to English, the development of a database for the drafting materials of the Macau Basic Law, and others. And as new drafting documents are discovered, they will be added to the collection.


If you are interested in helping us in any way to reach these goals, we would be very pleased to hear from you (email We also welcome any comments and feedback you might have on BLDHO.

Press Release
Simon NM Young
Centre for Comparative and Public Law
December 2008
For questions and comments about this database, please contact the Centre for Comparative and Public Law.
Release 2.0 (December 2008)
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