|LCQ5: Remarks of a state leader on the constitutional affairs of Hong Kong
Following is a question by Hon James To and an oral reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 27):
At the Seminar in Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Implementation of the Basic Law held on 6th of this month, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) remarked that "the high degree of autonomy of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was not inherent to Hong Kong but granted by the Central Authorities......the HKSAR has as much power as that granted by the Central Authorities......the question of so-called residual power does not exist", while a law academic from the Mainland pointed out that "balanced participation should remain an important consideration when we discuss the issue of constitutional development. Everyone, be they rich, of the middle class or poor, should have opportunities to participate". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
(a) it has sought clarification from the Central Authorities if the remarks made by the NPCSC Chairman mean that the Central Authorities may, at any time, take back the power that has already been granted to the HKSAR; if it has, of the response received;
(b) it has assessed if the remarks made by the NPCSC Chairman will undermine Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy; if it has and the assessment result is in the affirmative, of the remedial measures; if the assessment result is in the negative, the reasons for that?
(c) it has assessed if the existing political system provides the rich with more opportunities to participate in politics than the middle class and the poor, and hence the principle of balanced participation has not yet been implemented; if it has and the assessment result is in the affirmative, of the improvement measures; if the assessment result is in the negative, the justifications for that?
(a) The basic policies of the Central Authorities regarding Hong Kong have been fully reflected in the Basic Law. In fact, under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems", the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the HKSAR is conferred by the Central Authorities. For example, Article 2 of the Basic Law provides that the National People's Congress authorises the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication.
(b) The remarks made by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) reflect the principles and provisions in the Basic Law. The basic policies of the People's Republic of China (PRC) regarding Hong Kong, i.e. "One Country, Two Systems", "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, have been implemented through the Basic Law and will not be changed. The comment that the NPCSC Chairman's remarks will undermine Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy is totally ungrounded.
(c) The constitutional development in the HKSAR must comply with the basic policies of the PRC regarding Hong Kong, and the principles on constitutional development under the Basic Law, including meeting the interests of different sectors of society. In taking forward Hong Kong's democratic development towards universal suffrage, the HKSAR Government will ensure that the relevant principles in the Basic Law will be complied with.
Ends/Wednesday, June 27, 2007