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Government Statement on FAC's Report

In response to the observations and comments made by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs (FAC) of the British Parliament on Hong Kong in its latest report, a Government spokesman made the following statement today (November 30):

Since the Reunification, the Central Authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government have fully demonstrated their determination in firmly implementing "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong.

When the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, visited London last (October) month, he met with the British Prime Minister and other political leaders. All of them expressed confidence in the successful implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong.

The Parliamentary report showed that the committee has an incomplete understanding about the situation in Hong Kong.

In terms of democratic developments, since the Reunification we have increased the proportion of directly elected seats of Legislative Council (LegCo) to 40 per cent. We will continue to follow the Basic Law timetable on constitutional reforms.

It is entirely proper for the HKSAR Government to require staff of Taiwanese organisations to respect the "One China" principle and the Basic Law while working in Hong Kong. British authorities likewise applied the "One China" principle prior to 1997.

The Central People's Government has fully respected Hong Kong's autonomies and has not interfered in Hong Kong affairs. It is entirely appropriate and natural for the Central People's Government to encourage the civil service to continue to assist the Chief Executive in the successful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems".

On the issue of the right of abode case and the interpretation of the Basic Law, the Government is pleased to note the FAC's conclusion on this issue.

To seek the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress' (NPCSC) interpretation of the Basic Law provisions in the right of abode case is both legal and constitutional. The HKSAR Government will not seek the NPCSC's interpretation of the Basic Law lightly.

Based on the case of removal of Wu Man, a HKSAR resident, from Thailand to the Mainland, the report recommended that British National (Overseas) passport holders were given the same protection as British citizens and that the British Government continues to pursue Wu Man's case with the Chinese authorities.

The spokesman pointed out that Wu was tried in the Mainland under the provisions of the Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China for offences over which the Mainland has jurisdiction.

The HKSAR Government is in no position to interfere with the independence of the judicial system in the Mainland, in the same way that we will not interfere with the judicial independence of other jurisdictions.

Wu's case had come to a close after he pleaded guilty in his trial and had his appeals heard.

On the issue of rendition, given the proximity of the HKSAR with the Mainland and the considerable amount of cross-boundary crime, there is a clear need to put in place a formal rendition arrangement between the two places.

We recognize the sensitivity of the subject and are proceeding very carefully. Any proposed arrangement will be in accordance with the Basic Law, taking into account the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and balancing the need to prevent criminals from escaping justice and the need to safeguard the rights of individuals.

In formulating the rendition arrangement with the Mainland, we shall fully take into account public views. Any final arrangement will have to be underpinned by local legislation and be acceptable to the Hong Kong community. It will be subject to the scrutiny of our LegCo in the legislative process.

End/Thursday, November 30, 2000