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HK spokesman: Basic Law interpretation legal
Updated: 2004-04-12 08:29

The Hong Kong government said Sunday that it understood that there were concerns among certain quarters of the community about the interpretation of the Basic Law recently by China's central authorities, and would further explain to the public matters relating to it.

A Hong Kong government spokesman made the remarks in response to a public procession held here Sunday.

"The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government will continue to make use of different channels to explain to the public matters relating to the interpretation," the spokesman said in a press release.

Last week, the SAR government arranged for Deputy Secretary-General of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Qiao Xiaoyang and others to come to Hong Kong to meet with various sectors of the community. These meetings were helpful for the Hong Kong community to understand better the legal basis for the interpretation.

"We take note that one of the concerns of the members of the public taking part in the public procession relates to the interpretation made by the NPC Standing Committee of the relevant provisions in Annexes I and II of the Basic Law," the spokesman said.

He said by the end of March, the Constitutional Development Task Force completed and submitted to the Central Authorities its first report on the issues of legislative process. Before making the interpretation on the relevant provisions of the Basic Law, the NPC Standing Committee had considered fully the positions of the SAR government as set out in the Task Force's report, as well as the views of the Hong Kong community as reflected by the Task Force.

The spokesman said, "The interpretation is made under powers conferred upon the NPC Standing Committee under the Constitution and the Basic Law. It is entirely legal and constitutional. The interpretation has laid down a clear set of legislative procedures, enabling us to proceed to the next stage of work on a solid legal foundation."

In the past two months or so, the Task Force has listened to a full range of views expressed by the community on the issue of constitutional development. Meanwhile, the Task Force is compiling its second report on the issues of principle.

"In drafting its second report, the Task Force will take into account fully the views of various sectors of the Hong Kong community. The Task Force will also respond in this report to the question of whether or not the methods for electing the Chief Executive in 2007 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2008 need to be amended," he said.

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