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US remarks on Hong Kong 'unacceptable'
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-05 11:40

HONG KONG: Remarks by a US official on constitutional development in Hong Kong are unacceptable, a government spokesman in Hong Kong said over the weekend.

The spokesman for the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was referring to remarks made on Friday by a US State Department deputy spokesman. The State Department has also submitted a report on Hong Kong to the US Congress.

The report touched on China's National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee's interpretation of the Basic Law and Hong Kong's constitutional development.

The report expressed the worry that the interpretation of the Basic Law would affect the international community's confidence in Hong Kong.

The spokesman said Hong Kong residents have been ensured various basic rights and freedoms entrusted by the law.

The HKSAR government has been governing Hong Kong according to the Basic Law and implementing all the commitments to the international community while actively conducting international co-operation, the spokesman said, pointing out that the US report admitted those facts.

Still, to guarantee the correct understanding and implementation of the Basic Law, the NPC Standing Committee will interpret related articles in the annexes to the Basic Law according to the Constitution and Basic Law, he said.

In Beijing, the Law Committee of the NPC said yesterday it has agreed to submit the draft interpretations of the two clauses of the Hong Kong Basic Law for approval by the NPC Standing Committee.

The NPC Law Committee has submitted draft interpretations on Clause 7 of Annex I and Clause 3 of Annex II of the Hong Kong Basic Law for approval by the eighth meeting of the 10th NPC Standing Committee, said Yang Jingyu, chairman of the Law Committee.

The meeting started on April 2, and is scheduled to conclude on Tuesday.

A spokesman of Hong Kong's Constitutional Affairs Bureau said on Saturday the central authorities and the HKSAR will deal with constitutional development according to the Basic Law.

"The international community should have faith that the HKSAR government will continue to run Hong Kong in strict accordance with the Basic Law," he said.

The spokesman said that the decision of the Standing Committee of the NPC to interpret the relevant provisions relating to legislative processes would help Hong Kong resolve an important and practical issue and allow it to advance its constitutional development.

There are divergent views in the Hong Kong community on the interpretation of the provisions in the two Annexes.

The interpretation by the NPC Standing Committee will help clarify the views, put an end to disputes and provide a firm foundation for the next stage of work, said the spokesman.

Some top businessmen have been vocal in their support for the stance of the NPC Standing Committee.

Gorden Wu Ying-sheung, chairman of Hopewell Holdings Ltd, said on Saturday that the central government has been taking great concern and care of Hong Kong.

Whenever Hong Kong encountered economic difficulties, the central government offered great support.

He said the mainland has achieved great success in its opening-up drive and he is confident in the NPC Standing Committee's interpretation.

Peter Wong Man Kong, chairman of M.K. Corporation Ltd, said it is the proper time for the NPC Standing Committee to interpret the Basic Law.

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