China refutes UK official's intervention in HK
Stephen Bradley, the British consul-general in Hong Kong, has come under fire for intervening in Hong Kong affairs.
Expressing his "strong displeasure" over Bradley's remarks, Yang Wenchang, commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, yesterday criticized and refuted the consul-general's claims.
Bradley had claimed that the operation of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong has run into problems. Yang said such an accusation was "totally groundless and made out of ulterior motives".
Since Hong Kong's reunification with the motherland seven years ago, the central government has unswervingly implemented the policies of "One Country, Two Systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and "a high degree of autonomy". It has acted in strict accordance with the Basic Law and spared no effort in supporting the SAR government to rule according to the law, Yang noted.
Except for the end of rule by British governors, Hong Kong's political, economic, social and cultural systems and lifestyle remain intact. The basic liberties Hong Kong people are enjoying under the law, such as freedom of the press, speech and assembly, have all been well protected.
Democratization in the territory is continuing to move forward as prescribed by the Basic Law, and Hong Kong people are enjoying "an unprecedented degree of democratic rights", he stressed.
"This is what any unbiased person could clearly see. Even the British Foreign Ministry acknowledged this fact publicly in the 14 reports it has submitted to the British parliament," Yang said.
He stressed that the interpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) and its associated decision on Hong Kong's electoral arrangements for 2007/08 - both made in strict accordance with China's Constitution and with the authority vested by the Basic Law - were necessary moves to ensure the smooth progress of Hong Kong's constitutional development.
"They tally completely with the Constitution and the law, and are fair and reasonable. They have not affected in any way the high degree of autonomy Hong Kong enjoys," Yang said.
He pointed out that an earlier British Foreign Ministry's report on Hong Kong as well as Bradley's query, based on the report, of the Chinese Government's determination to enforce "One Country, Two Systems" manifest an ulterior motive - to arouse among Hong Kong people discontent with the central government.
Yang pointed out that today's Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong. It is no longer the same Hong Kong as before reunification. As a foreign consul in the SAR, Bradley does not have the right to make wanton comments on Hong Kong's political affairs.
Yang hoped that Bradley would abide strictly by the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and be discreet in his words and deeds to avoid saying anything inconsistent with his position, and contribute to the development of Sino-British relations.
"One Country, Two Systems" was a brilliant novelty proposed by Deng Xiaoping in the light of Hong Kong's actual situation for peaceful resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over the territory. The determination of the central and SAR governments to realize this great undertaking is beyond doubt.
They, as well as Hong Kong compatriots, will never tolerate any foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs, Yang concluded.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam yesterday also refuted the criticism by the UK Government in its six-monthly report on Hong Kong that the city has shifted away from the Joint Declaration.
"We have since reunification implemented 'One Country, Two Systems' totally according to the Basic Law, and the provisions of the Joint Declaration with regard to constitutional development have also been implemented," he told reporters.
According to the Joint Declaration, the chief executive is supposed to be chosen by local consultations and elections. The Legislative Council is supposed to be constituted by elections.
All these provisions have already been implemented in Hong Kong according to the Basic Law. Furthermore, the ultimate aim of universal suffrage as stipulated in the Basic Law is for the central authorities and the SAR to pursue this goal in accordance with the Basic Law. "We hope and trust that foreign governments will continue to respect this principle," he said.