Wu Bangguo,chairman of the Standing
Committee of the National People's Congress,delivers a speech during the
seminar marking the 10th anniversary of implementing the Basic Law in
Beijing June 6, 2007. [Reuters]
The central government will continue to support Hong Kong in developing a
democratic system that suits its conditions, but any reform must be gradual and
in accordance with the Basic Law, top legislator Wu Bangguo said yesterday in
Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the
top legislature, made the remarks at a seminar marking the 10th anniversary of
implementing the Basic Law.
Basic Law is the constitutional document for the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region (SAR). It enshrines the key concepts of "one country, two
systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and "a high degree of
Wu said events have proved, and will continue to prove, that the principle of
"one country, two systems" is workable and feasible and the Basic Law is a sound
law able to withstand the test of time. He emphasized that Hong Kong must uphold
State sovereignty and ensure prosperity and stability while enjoying a high
degree of autonomy.
Being an SAR directly under the central government, "Hong Kong's high degree
of autonomy is not intrinsic, but authorized by the central government".
"It only has as much power as authorized by the central government. There is
no so-called residual power."
But Wu said the central government will never interfere in affairs within the
purview of the autonomy of the SAR.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said at the seminar that the SAR has
retained its international features, rule by law and various kinds of freedoms
guaranteed by the Basic Law after its return to the motherland.
"With State care and assistance, we have strived to display our unique
advantages and made significant achievements widely recognized by the
international community," Tsang said.
The Basic Law has laid a solid foundation for Hong Kong's economic and social
development and the improvement of people's livelihood, he added.
Former secretary of justice Elsie Leung added that to achieve the ultimate
goal of universal suffrage, and maintain prosperity and stability in Hong Kong,
it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the relationship between the
central government and Hong Kong.
|Being an SAR directly under the
central government, "Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy is not intrinsic,
but authorized by the central government". |
Leung said Hong Kong has made gradual progress in democracy in accordance
with the Basic Law over the years. Since its return to the motherland in 1997,
the number of members in the Election Committee, which elects the chief
executive, has grown from 400 to 800; and they are from different social strata
In the Legislative Council, the number of directly elected seats has also
increased from one-third in the first term to half in the third term.
The Basic Law itself is a result of broad participation of Hong Kong citizens
as well, Wu said, pointing out that 23 of the 59 members of the drafting
committee were from Hong Kong.
The full text of the draft law was made public twice for public comments.
Different social strata, sectors and groups in Hong Kong came up with nearly
80,000 comments and proposals.
"In other words, each and every article of the Basic Law represents the broad
consensus of Hong Kong society," Wu said.
(China Daily 06/07/2007 page1)