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Government's response to remarks made by Hon Yeung Sum

Regarding the remarks made by the Hon Yeung Sum in his "Letter to Hong Kong" broadcast on RTHK today (June 24), a Constitutional Affairs Bureau spokesman made the following response:

"When introducing the principal officials of the third term HKSAR Government yesterday, the Chief Executive (CE), Mr Donald Tsang, reiterated his undertaking made during the election campaign that he would deal with the issue of universal suffrage in the next five years within his new term, with a view to coming up with a solution.

This position taken by the CE is more advanced than that adopted in any previous term of the HKSAR Government. After 20 months' discussions by the Commission on Strategic Development and the Legislative Council (LegCo), the discussion on implementing universal suffrage for the CE and LegCo has entered a substantive stage. We have received many proposals, which have provided a good basis for the third term HKSAR Government to publish a green paper on constitutional development and to consult the public after its inauguration on 1 July.

The Hon Yeung Sum mentioned the commitment of the Joint Declaration regarding elections. In fact, the Joint Declaration did not specify universal suffrage for the CE and LegCo as the goal, but only stipulated that the CE shall be selected by election or through consultations, and that the legislature shall be constituted by elections. The ultimate aim of universal suffrage was put in when the Basic Law was enacted in 1990. Hence, the provisions of the Basic Law regarding the electoral system are more democratic than those in the Joint Declaration. In dealing with the issue of universal suffrage, we must comply with the provisions of the Basic Law.

Regarding the statement on 'One Country, Two Systems' made by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Mr Wu Bangguo, it is entirely based on the principles and provisions in the Basic Law. The executive, legislative and independent judicial powers being exercised by the HKSAR are granted to by the Central Authorities, for example, this is clearly provided in Article 2 of the Basic Law. Since reunification, both the Central Authorities and the HKSAR Government have been implementing the policies of 'One Country, Two Systems', 'Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong' and 'a high degree of autonomy' faithfully in accordance with the Basic Law."

Ends/Sunday, June 24, 2007