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EIU's comments on HKSAR's constitutional development refuted

In response to press enquiries on the comments concerning Hong Kong SAR's constitutional development stated in a forecast on the HKSAR published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) yesterday, a Government spokesman today (May 27) made the following statement:

We do not agree with the observations set out in the EIU's forecast concerning our high degree of autonomy and constitutional development.

On Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy", the Standing Committee of National People's Congress's (NPCSC) decision has not in any way undermined the principle of 'one country, two systems". Since July 1, 1997, the Central Authorities have been fully committed to uphold the principle of "one country, two systems" as provided for in the Basic Law. We have, and will continue to, exercise the high degree of autonomy strictly in accordance with the Basic Law.

On Hong Kong's constitutional development, it is important to note that it has never been the intention that the Hong Kong SAR can, completely on its own, decide on making changes to our political structure. By constitutional design, the Central Authorities have the power and responsibility to oversee our constitutional development.

Although we are not in a position to introduce universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008, the NPCSC's decision leaves plenty of scope for changes to be made to the electoral methods to broaden the electoral basis for electing the Chief Executive, and to elect a more representative legislature. We look to the community to come forth with suggestions for such changes consistent with the relevant provisions in the Basic Law and the NPCSC's decision, with a view to bringing Hong Kong closer to the ultimate aim of universal suffrage.

On the Chief Executive's term of office, the comments made in the forecast are sheer speculation. The Chief Executive has clearly indicated that he will continue to serve the community of Hong Kong until his present term expires.

Ends/Thursday, May 27, 2004