Clarification of the Basic Law gets under way
China's top legislature started a five-day meeting on Friday to interpret the two Basic Law annexes concerning Hong Kong's political reform.
The move aims to ensure the mini constitution is "correctly understood and implemented", said Li Fei, deputy director of the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC).
He made the remark while explaining the draft interpretations to lawmakers.
The NPCSC began on Friday to deliberate draft interpretations on Clause 7 of annex I and Clause 3 of Annex II of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region concerning issues of constitutional development.
Li said the existing Basic Law provisions on Hong Kong's constitutional development are made on the basis of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. They are in line with the central government's policies towards Hong Kong and its legal status and real conditions - including different interests of social strata - to benefit the development of Hong Kong's capitalist economy.
The effective portion of Hong Kong's former constitutional system has been preserved by the Basic Law, which also made clear that constitutional development must proceed step by step out of its own real conditions and with balanced representation of people from all walks of life.
"These important principles are intended to safeguard Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability," he said.
Li, however, admitted that currently there are different understandings in Hong Kong society on the two annexes concerning the election of the chief executive and formation of the Basic Law.
Hong Kong's future constitutional development is related to the implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the Basic Law, and to the relationship between the central government and HKSAR. It also has a bearing on the interests of various Hong Kong social groups as well as Hong Kong's long-term prosperity, Li said.
With the aim to ensure the Basic Law is correctly understood and implemented, the meeting of the chairman and vice-chairpersons of the NPCSC has proposed the draft interpretations to the national legislature for deliberation.
The move is in accordance with procedures defined by the Constitution and the Basic Law and based on suggestions of NPC deputies.
Before tabling the motion to the NPC Standing Committee, members of Hong Kong SAR Basic Law Committee, which is under the NPCSC, NPC deputies from Hong Kong, and members of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, have been consulted.
Public opinion in Hong Kong collected by the Task Force on Constitutional Development of the SAR government has also been reviewed, Li said.
Clause 7 of Annex I says: "If there is a need to amend the method for selecting the chief executives for the terms subsequent to the year 2007, such amendments must be made with endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Legislative Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, and they shall be reported to the NPSSC for approval."
Clause 3 of Annex II says: "With regard to the method of forming the Legislative Council and its procedures for voting on bills and motions after 2007, if there is a need to amend the provisions of this annex, such amendments must be made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, and they shall be reported to the NPCSC for the record.