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Government response to false remarks made by Taiwan

    In response to media enquiries on the comments made by Taiwan in connection with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), a spokesman of the Constitutional Affairs Bureau made the following statement today (June 28):

     "Over the past 10 years, the fact that 'One Country, Two Systems' has been successfully implemented in Hong Kong is well recognised by people in Hong Kong and worldwide. The Time Magazine has recently published an article admitting that its sister magazine Fortune had before 1997 incorrectly predicted the future development of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been ranked by the Heritage Foundation of the United States of America as the world's freest economy for 13 consecutive years. Over the past 10 years, the number of overseas enterprises setting up regional headquarters and regional offices in Hong Kong has continued to increase. The number rose to 3,800 in 2006, representing an increase of 50 per cent from 1997.

     "People in Hong Kong clearly noticed that the community in Taiwan paid great attention towards anti-corruption and relevant campaigns in Taiwan. In contrast, since the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption over 30 years ago, the international community has acknowledged Hong Kong as one of the cleanest communities around Asia.

     "On democratic development, we have made progress over the past 10 years. Before Reunification, the Governor of Hong Kong was appointed by the British Government, whereas after Reunification, the Chief Executive (CE) is elected. In respect of the legislature, the number of seats directly elected from geographical constituencies has increased from one-third to half.

     "During his election campaign for the Third Term CE Election in March this year, the CE already made it clear that he would endeavour to take forward discussions within the community on the issue of implementing universal suffrage, with a view to coming up with a consensus within the community on the model, roadmap and timetable for implementing universal suffrage. This position taken by the CE is more advanced than that adopted in any previous term of the HKSAR Government.

     "The successful implementation of 'One Country, Two Systems' has also brought about new room for development for Hong Kong. For example, we were able to conclude the 'Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement' (CEPA) with the Mainland in 2003 after China was admitted a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), because Hong Kong has retained our membership in the WTO after the Reunification. CEPA has helped the economic recovery of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also highly capable of hosting major international conferences. Examples include the successfully-hosted 6th Ministerial Meeting of the WTO in 2005, and the International Telecommunication Union TELECOM WORLD in 2006.

     "Since the Reunification, using the name 'Hong Kong, China', we have participated in more than 190 international organisations, the participation of which is not limited to states. We have also participated as part of the delegation of the People's Republic of China, or in such other capacity as may be permitted by the Central People's Government and the international organisation concerned, in more than 20 international organisations, the participation of which is limited to states.

     "Under the Basic Law, the HKSAR Government may issue HKSAR passports. As of today, 134 countries/regions have granted visa-free access, or provided visa-on-arrival arrangements, for HKSAR passport-holders. Moreover, a total of 118 countries and international organisations have set up consular and official missions in the HKSAR to promote their trade and economic relationship with us.

     "Taiwan has continually hoped to expand its scope of activity in the international arena. As a matter of fact, the successful implementation of 'One Country, Two Systems' has been very important in enabling Hong Kong to find new room for development. The community and people of Hong Kong support the Reunification of Hong Kong, look forward to the implementation of 'Three Links' across the Strait and the early Reunification of the nation, and hope that Taiwan may also enjoy the same new room for development."

Ends/Thursday, June 28, 2007