NPC reviews HK Basic Law interpretations
The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China's national legislature, began Friday to deliberate draft interpretations on Clause 7 of Annex I and Clause 3 of Annex II of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) concerning issues of constitutional development of the region.
Deputy Director Li Fei of the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee explained the draft interpretations to lawmakers. He said the existing provisions on Hong Kong's constitutional developments in the Basic Law have been made on thebasis of the "one country, two systems" principle. The provisions were in line with the central government's policies towards Hong Kong and its legal status and real conditions, including differentinterests of social strata, to benefit the development of Hong Kong's capitalist economy.
The effective proportion of Hong Kong's former constitutional system has been preserved by the Basic Law, which also made clear that constitutional development must proceed step by step out of its own real conditions and with balanced representation of peoplefrom all walks of life, Li said.
"These important principles are intended to safeguard Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability," he said.
"Currently different understandings exist in Hong Kong society on Clause 7 of Annex I and Clause 3 of Annex II of the Basic Law,"he said.
As Hong Kong's future constitutional developments are related to the implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle and the Basic Law, and to the ties between the Central Government and HKSAR, and to the interests of various Hong Kong social groupsas well as Hong Kong's long-time prosperity, with the aim to make the Basic Law correctly understood and implemented, the meeting ofthe chairman and vice-chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee has proposed the draft interpretations to the NPC Standing Committee for deliberation in accordance with procedures defined by the Constitution and the Basic Law based on suggestions from NPC deputies, he said.
Clause 7 of Annex I of the Basic Law says: "If there is a need to amend the method for selecting the Chief Executives for the terms subsequent to the year 2007, such amendments must be made with endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Legislative Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, and they shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval."
Clause 3 of Annex II regards the method for the formation of the Legislative Council and its voting procedures after 2007. It says: "With regard to the method of forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and its procedures for voting on bills and motions after 2007, if there isa need to amend the provisions of this annex, such amendments mustbe made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, andthey shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record."
Before tabling the motion to the NPC Standing Committee, members of Hong Kong SAR Basic Law Committee under the NPC Standing Committee, NPC deputies from Hong Kong and the members ofthe Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee have been consulted, and public opinion in Hong Kong collected by a special constitutional reform task force of the SAR Government has also been reviewed, Li said.