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NPC solicits views on law interpretation
Updated: 2005-04-22 22:31

Qiao Xiaoyang, deputy secretary-general of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) , held two meetings with nearly 300 Hong Kong people from various walks of life in Shenzhen on Thursday to solicit views on holding a by-electing for a new Hong Kong Chief Executive.

The meeting covered the NPC Standing Committee's interpretation of the issue.

Qiao exchanged views with Hong Kong deputies to the NPC and Hong Kong members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and various Hong Kong people representing a wide range of field and occupations.

Most of the speakers at the meetings believed that under the Basic Law, the chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) should be selected by the Election Committee with a report then submitted to the Central People's Government for approval.

They said that, according to the Basic Law, the term of the Election Committee shall be five years and the committee's duty is to select an executive with a five-year term.

If a chief executive should resign before that term expires, a new executive would be elected through a by-election by the Election Committee and serve the remaining term of the outgoing chief, rather than taking on a new five-year.

According to the Annex I of the Basic Law, the methods for selecting the chief executive for the terms subsequent to the year 2007 could be amended, they said.

In April last year, the NPC Standing Committee made a decision on the selection of the chief executive of HKSAR in 2007 and the forming of the Legislative Council in 2008.

The decision definitely ruled out universal suffrage for the selection of the chief executive in 2007, while stipulating the methods for selection could be properly amended in accordance with the principle of a gradual and orderly progress.

This indicates that the third-term of the executive will be selected in 2007. The by-elected chief executive should serve the remaining tenure of the second-term, instead of a complete five-year term of office.

The by-elected new chief should serve the remaining tenure of the second-term, instead of a complete five-year term of office.

Most speakers at the two meetings agreed that according to the Constitution and the Basic Law, the NPC Standing Committee is empowered to render an interpretation of the Basic Law.

Due to differences over whether the new by-elected chief should serve the remainder of the predecessor's term or a full five-year term, and based on a report submitted by HK Acting chief executive, the State Council has submitted a proposal to the NPC Standing Committee, asking for an interpretation of the related provisions of the Basic Law in order to ensure the implementation of the Basic Law, a smooth election E and safeguarding HK's prosperity and stability.

The proposal will be put into the agenda of the chairman and vice-chairpersons' meeting of the NPC Standing Committee. The move is completely lawful, reasonable and necessary and is supported by a majority of Hong Kong residents, officials said.

The Basic Law is widely viewed as a national law promulgated by the NPC as well as a constitutional law of HKSAR which serves as the foundation of HKSAR's rule of law.

Qiao pointed out that the NPC Standing Committee pays great attention to the views of those from all walks of life in Hong Kong. The meetings are aimed at collecting various views from all sectors, including adverse opinions.

The mainstream opinions of the participants to the meetings supported the decision made by the NPC Standing Committee to list the proposal of interpretation of the Basic Law into the agenda of the chairman and vice-chairpersons' meeting of the NPC Standing Committee.

Qiao reiterated that the central authorities will unswervingly implement the principle of "One Country, Two Systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, handle Hong Kong affairs strictly according to the Basic Law and maintain Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

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