In response to comments in the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China 2009 Annual Report relating to Hong Kong, a Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau spokesman today (October 14) said:
"It is regrettable that the commission's report has made groundless comments that the Central Government continued to obstruct progress towards universal suffrage as stipulated in the Basic Law.
In fact, the decision adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in December 2007, which made clear the timetable for attaining universal suffrage, i.e. the Chief Executive (CE) may be elected by universal suffrage in 2017 and the Legislative Council (Legco) may be elected by universal suffrage in 2020, carries most important significance for Hong Kong's constitutional development. In the meantime, the elections for the CE and the Legco in 2012 can be made more democratic.
Between 2008 and 2012, we should focus on dealing with the 2012 electoral arrangements so as to roll forward Hong Kong's electoral methods to a mid-way point.
As for the specific models for implementing universal suffrage, the fourth-term CE and the fifth-term Legco should, between 2012 and 2017, address together the method for implementing universal suffrage for the CE in 2017.
The CE returned by universal suffrage in 2017 will have to work with the sixth-term Legco to deal with the issue of universal suffrage models for the Legco in 2020.
We will consult the public on the electoral methods for the CE and the Legco in 2012 in the fourth quarter of this year. The aim of the HKSAR Government is to determine the two electoral methods for 2012 within the tenure of the current term in order to enhance democratic elements. This could then lay a foundation for attaining universal suffrage for the CE in 2017, and for the Legco in 2020.
The implementation of universal suffrage according to the Basic Law is part of our internal affairs. This is a matter for the HKSAR and the Central Government to deal with according to the Basic Law. We hope and believe that foreign governments and legislatures will continue to respect this principle."
Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2009