In response to media enquiries, a Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau spokesman made the following response today (June 3) to the Report from the European Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2009):
"We welcome that the European Commission acknowledges in the report that the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', has continued to work well, the rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Hong Kong have been respected, and the rule of law protected.
The Central Authorities and the HKSAR Government are committed to enabling Hong Kong to roll forward democracy and reach the ultimate goal of universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law.
We now have a clear timetable for attaining universal suffrage: that for the Chief Executive (CE) is 2017 and that for the Legislative Council (LegCo) is 2020. In the meantime, the elections for CE and LegCo in 2012 can be made more democratic. The HKSAR Government has put forth in April 2010 a package of proposals for the two electoral methods for 2012, which can enhance the democratic elements of the two elections in 2012 through the participation of elected District Council members who have a broad electorate base. This can also pave the way for implementing universal suffrage.
The mainstream view within the community is that constitutional development of Hong Kong should be rolled forward in 2012, so as to pave the way for implementing universal suffrage. If Hong Kong can achieve consensus on the 2012 electoral methods, we will have more confidence and will be in a better position to implement universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020.
As to the future universal suffrage models, the HKSAR Government has made it clear that they should comply with the Basic Law and the principles of universality and equality.
The HKSAR Government has been reflecting pro-actively and faithfully to the Central Authorities the views of different political parties and individuals on constitutional development, and their aspiration to communicate with the Central Authorities. We hope that the communication which has started recently will create a rational and pragmatic environment for Hong Kong, so as to help the community narrow differences and forge consensus on the proposed package for 2012.
The issue of universal suffrage is a matter for the HKSAR and the Central Authorities to deal with according to the Basic Law. We hope and believe that foreign governments will continue to respect this principle.
Regarding the Race Discrimination Ordinance, the definition of 'race' in the Ordinance follows the grounds listed in Article 1(1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. The Ordinance also defines indirect discrimination in the same manner as the three anti-discrimination ordinances concerning sex, disability and family status respectively, and covers various requirements or conditions, including those involving language. The protection under the Ordinance applies equally to all persons in Hong Kong, regardless of their nationality or immigration status."
Ends/Thursday, June 3, 2010