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China opposes foreign interference in HK
(China Daily HK Edition)
Updated: 2004-07-03 10:15

China firmly opposes irresponsible comments by any foreign country which interfere in Hong Kong affairs, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue in Beijing on Friday.

Zhang said this when asked to comment on the remarks of deputy spokesman of the US State Department Adam Ereli that the steps and scope of Hong Kong's democratization should be decided by the Hong Kong people and government, Xinhua news agency reported.

Zhang said that Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs. Since Hong Kong's return to China, the principles of "One Country, Two Systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and "a high degree of autonomy" have been comprehensively implemented and Hong Kong people's rights and freedoms have been fully safeguarded, she said.

The central government has always held that Hong Kong needs to develop a democratic system which conforms to its own conditions, she said.

Only when the political institutions of Hong Kong SAR develop in a gradual and orderly manner according to the Basic Law can they meet the long-term interests of Hong Kong people and be conducive to the long-term prosperity and stability of the territory, Zhang said.

In a related development, an official of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on Friday criticized Taiwan authorities for "slandering 'One Country, Two Systems' using Thursday's mass rally in the SAR as ammunition".

"Their attacks on the central government aim to help promote separatist activities of Taiwan independence forces, and such attempts will be doomed," the official said.

In Hong Kong, a government spokesman on Friday night reiterated that the central authorities have both the power and the responsibility to oversee Hong Kong's constitutional development under the Constitution and the Basic Law.

In response to media inquiries on the remarks made by Taiwan authorities in respect of the rally held in the SAR on Thursday, the spokesman said, "As provided in the Basic Law, universal suffrage is our ultimate aim. Since reunification, the SAR government has been taking forward democratization in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Basic Law."

The SAR government will continue to handle work related to constitutional development according to this principle, said the spokesman.

"In the light of the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), adopted in April, there is plenty of room for us to contemplate changes to the election methods for selecting the chief executive and for forming the Legislative Council," he said.

The spokesman also made a response concerning a letter from the chairman of the Congressional Committee on International Relations of the US to the chief executive of Hong Kong.

Since Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, "the central authorities have been firmly committed to upholding the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems'. There is no erosion whatsoever of Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy," said the spokesman.

"Over the last seven years, with the strong support of the central authorities, we have successfully turned 'One Country, Two Systems' into an everyday reality," he said.

The freedoms - of the press, expression, assembly, religion and many others - remain strong and are deeply rooted in the rule of law. The mass media in Hong Kong remains vibrant and vocal. Freedom of expression is very much alive in Hong Kong, he said.

On constitutional development, the spokesman reiterated that the SAR government attaches great importance to work in this area.

The government would actively promote constitutional development in Hong Kong on the basis of "One Country, Two Systems" and the Basic Law.

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