Views on HK's degree of autonomy refuted
A spokesman for Hong Kong Constitutional Affairs Bureau on Sunday strongly refuted any suggestion that Hong Kong Special Administration Region's (HKSAR) high degree of autonomy had been affected.
The spokesman made the remarks in response to the "Letter to Hong Kong" by Professor Michael Davis, which was aired on Radio and Television of Hong Kong Sunday.
The spokesman said "the HKSAR government's position on constitutional development has been clear all along, that is, we should move towards the ultimate aim of electing the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council by universal suffrage in a gradual and orderly manner and having due regard to the actual situation of Hong Kong as prescribed in the Basic Law.
"According to the relevant provisions in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) has the power to interpret the Basic Law. The exercise of that power by the NPC Standing Committee is lawful and constitutional, and has in no way affected Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy or the rule of law," he said.
"Under the Basic Law, it has never been intended that Hong Kong can, on its own, decide on changes to its political structure. It is important to have a proper understanding of Hong Kong's constitutional order in any discussion on Hong Kong's political structure, including the methods to elect the Chief Executive and to form the Legislative Council," the spokesman said.
"The decision of the NPC Standing Committee was made having regard to the actual situation of Hong Kong, and in the overall interests of the community," he added.
The spokesman pointed out that in the light of the relevant provisions of the Basic Law and the decision of the NPC Standing Committee adopted on April 26, the Constitutional Development Task Force headed by the Chief Secretary for Administration published its Third Report on May 11.
"The Task Force is in the process of garnering views and specific proposals from individuals and organizations in the community. In the autumn, the Task Force will consolidate the more representative views received and set them out in a further report for another round of public consultation," the spokesman added.
"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. The people of Hong Kong will continue to have an important role play in the process," the spokesman said.
On the upcoming Legislative Council election, the spokesman said that relevant government bureaus and departments were working closely with the Electoral Affairs Commission to ensure that the election would be conducted smoothly and in an open and fair manner.
A large-scale publicity campaign had been launched to call on eligible persons to stand for election and to encourage registered electors to cast their votes on Sept. 12 to elect candidates whom they could identify with.