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HK refutes Human Rights Watch report
Updated: 2005-01-15 11:10

Allegations contained in the Human Rights Watch report relating to Hong Kong are groundless, with complete disregard of fundamental facts, a spokesman of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said in Hong Kong Friday.

In response to a Human Rights Watch report released on Thursday, the government spokesman said since Hong Kong's return to China, the central authorities have adhered to their commitment of letting Hong Kong people run Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the Basic Law.

"Time and again, national leaders have expressed their firm commitment to ensuring that this remains the case," said the spokesman.

"On Hong Kong's constitutional development, the HKSAR government is committed to further opening up the methods for selecting the Chief Executive (CE) in 2007 and forming the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2008," the spokesman said. In making the interpretation and decision in April, 2004, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) was duly exercising the powers vested upon it by the Constitution and the Basic Law, he said.

By constitutional design, the Central Authorities have the responsibilities and power to oversee Hong Kong's constitutional development, the spokesman said.

It has never been the intention of "One Country, Two Systems" that Hong Kong can, on its own, introduce changes to its electoral arrangements beyond 2007. For changes to be made to the electoral arrangements after 2007, the Basic Law has prescribed a tripartite mechanism where by approval from two-thirds LegCo Members, the CE and the Central Authorities is needed, said the spokesman.

Before making its decision in April, 2004, the Standing Committee of NPC has considered thoroughly the wide spectrum of views collected by the Constitutional Development Task Force from the Hong Kong community.

Now that the NPC Standing Committee has clarified the scope for changes for 2007 and 2008, we should make best use of the room available to broaden the scope for public participation in the elections and to enhance the representativeness of the two electoral systems, narrowing the distance between the existing arrangements and the ultimate aim of universal suffrage, the spokesman said.

He said the doubts raised in the report about the 2004 Leg Coelection are also unfounded. The fact that the election recorded a historic turnout of 54 percent represents a strong vote of confidence by Hong Kong people in the integrity of the electoral arrangements.

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