Hong Kong's Core Values Remain Intact
The core values on which the governance in Hong Kong is based include the rule of law, an open and free society, an impartial administration, a level playing field, and maintenance of Hong Kong's international links, a Government spokesman said today (May 23).
"All these values remain alive and run through the systems and activities in Hong Kong every day. The fact that Hong Kong is a leading international financial centre, a top trading economy of the world and an established common law jurisdiction in which both external investors and the local community have confidence is the best proof that these values continue to work," he
The spokesman was speaking in response to remarks by legislator Audrey Eu in RTHK's "Letter to Hong Kong".
"In making the interpretation and decision on Hong Kong's constitutional reforms, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) has given full regard to the views expressed by different organisations and individuals as well as those conveyed by the Constitutional Development Task Force," he said.
"Although we are not in a position to introduce universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008, there remains plenty of scope for changes to be made to broaden public participation in and enhance the representativeness of our electoral systems," the spokesman continued.
"Public discussion on constitutional development has entered a new phase with the publication of the Report No. 3 by the Constitutional Development Task Force in mid-May. We now look to the community to put forth to us during the three-month consultation period specific options that are in line with the parameters set out in the Basic Law and the NPCSC's decision."
The Task Force is to hold its first seminar tomorrow (May 24) in its bid to engage various sectors in constructive dialogue on constitutional reforms. Representatives of different political parties and groups, including some from the democratic camp, are expected to turn up.
The spokesman said the Government could not agree with Ms Eu more that the rule of law was one of Hong Kong's greatest assets.
He said: "The Basic Law has provided a unique and effective arrangement for preserving the common law system in Hong Kong. The establishment of the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) guarantees that the power of final adjudication is exercised in Hong Kong and that court cases are never taken to Beijing for final adjudication. Therefore, the common law can continue to evolve in
Hong Kong on its own. Furthermore, in making final adjudication, the CFA can refer to precedent cases in other common law jurisdictions.
"The Basic Law provides that the power of interpretation of the Basic Law itself is vested in the NPCSC. This is part of our constitutional order and a principle which we should respect."
Ends/ Sunday, May 23, 2004