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HKSARG's response to US Congress US-China Economic and Security Review Commission - 2004 Report

In response to media enquiries on the Second Report issued by the US Congress US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a Government spokesman said today (June 16) that the HKSAR Government noted that the Report included sections relating to Hong Kong.

"It is well recognised that 'One Country, Two Systems' in Hong Kong is working well in practice and that people's rights and freedoms continue to be upheld. The HKSAR Government will continue to run Hong Kong in strict accordance with the Basic Law."

The spokesman said that the Basic Law had clearly provided for the ultimate aim of the selection of the Chief Executive and the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. The HKSAR Government attached great importance to the work relating to constitutional development. The Government would actively promote constitutional development in Hong Kong on the basis of maintaining "One Country, Two Systems" and adhering to the Basic Law.

"According to both the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) has the power to interpret the Basic Law. The exercise of that power by the NPCSC is legal and constitutional, and has in no way affected Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy," the spokesman said.

He pointed that in the light of the relevant provisions of the Basic Law and the decision of the NPCSC adopted on April 26, the Constitutional Development Task Force headed by the Chief Secretary for Administration published its Third Report on May 11. The Report set out the areas which might be considered for amendment in respect of the methods for the selection of the Chief Executive in 2007 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2008.

"The Task Force is gathering views and specific proposals from individuals and organisations in the community. The Task Force will then consolidate the views received in the Fall for further public consultation," the spokesman said.

"There is plenty of room for us to contemplate changes to the election methods to broaden the electoral basis for the Chief Executive and to produce a more representative legislature. We are collecting views from the community in this respect. The people of Hong Kong will continue to have an important role to play in Hong Kong's constitutional development," the spokesman said.

The spokesman further noted that over the years, the range of bilateral relations between Hong Kong and the US in areas such as trade, air services and export control were mutually beneficial. Hong Kong had also been playing an important role, working with the US and other jurisdictions, in combating terrorism.

Ends/Wednesday, June 16, 2004