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Response to US-HK Policy Act Report 2006

    A spokesperson for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau today (July 5) said, "We note that the report published by the US under the US-HK Policy Act pointed out that Hong Kong has continued to maintain a high degree of autonomy, its dedication to the rule of law and respect for fundamental civil rights and human freedoms.

     "The principle of 'One Country, Two Systems' has been fully implemented in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law. Human rights and individual freedoms have been fully respected and protected by the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance."

     On constitutional development, the spokesperson said, "the Chief Executive (CE) during his election campaign had made it clear that he would deal with the issue of universal suffrage in the next five years within his new term. This position taken by the CE is more advanced than that adopted in any previous term of the HKSAR Government.

     "The HKSAR Government will publish by mid-2007 a green paper on constitutional development. This will set out the universal suffrage options for electing the CE and for forming Legislative Council (LegCo) put forth by different political parties, organisations and individuals. This will enable the Hong Kong community and the public to engage in wider discussions on the related issues. We will listen to the views of LegCo Members, individuals from different sectors and strata, as well as district personalities.

     "Following the end of the three-month public consultation period, we will submit a report to the Central Authorities to reflect any mainstream views formed and any other views expressed."

     As regards the interpretation of the Basic Law, the spokesperson said, "In accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China (Article 67(4)) and the Basic Law (Article 158), the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) has the power to interpret the Basic Law.

     "The NPCSC's power to interpret the Basic Law is in general and unqualified terms. This principle is fully acknowledged and respected in Hong Kong and by its courts.

     "The exercise of that power by the NPCSC, therefore, has not, and could not have, in any way affected the independence of the Judiciary, the rule of law or, generally, Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy."

Ends/Thursday, July 5, 2007