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Government's response to statement made by spokesman of US State Department

In response to media enquiries on the statement made by the spokesmen of the State Department of the United States (on December 22, US time) regarding Hong Kong's constitutional development, a Government spokesman today (December 23) expressed disappointment about the concerned statement.

"We would not wish any foreign governments to give the impression that they were meddling in Hong Kong's affairs," the spokesman said.

He said the question of Hong Kong's progress towards universal suffrage would be dealt with in strict accordance with the Basic Law, and the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National people's Congress (NPCSC) in April last year.

"Any changes to the electoral methods will require the support of three parties, i.e. the Legislative Council, the Chief Executive and the NPCSC. Any suggestion that the matter may be handled otherwise is inappropriate."

"The proposed package for the electoral methods for 2007-08 put forth by the Government would have greatly enhanced the democratic representation in the two electoral methods, and brought significant progress to Hong Kong's constitutional development. It is regrettable that the package, which was supported by the majority of the public and more than half of the Legislative Council Members, was not endorsed by a two-thirds majority of all Legislative Council Members as required in Annexes I and II of the Basic Law," the spokesman said.

He added that the Commission on Strategic Development had already commenced discussion on a roadmap for universal suffrage. The Chief Executive had stated publicly that he hoped the Commission would conclude the discussions on the principles and concepts relating to universal suffrage by mid-2006, and on the design of a universal suffrage system for the CE and the legislature by early 2007.

Ends/Friday, December 23, 2005