In response to media enquiries on the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) 2012 Annual Report on Hong Kong, a Government spokesman today (November 14) said:
"Since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Region has successfully implemented the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems' and continues to enjoy a high degree of autonomy as guaranteed under the Basic Law. It also continues to operate effectively day-to-day. The concern that the report has expressed over the continued viability of the 'One Country, Two Systems' in Hong Kong is unfounded.
"Hong Kong maintains its fundamental strengths and unique characteristics that underpin its success as an international and regional trading and financial centre. Hong Kong people continue to enjoy the fundamental rights protected under the Basic Law. Hong Kong continues to thrive as a free society, buttressed by the rule of law, our freedoms, human rights and an independent judiciary.
"Our public elections are open and clean, supervised by the Electoral Affairs Commission which is an independent statutory body chaired by a High Court Judge. In respect of complaints related to corrupt conduct at elections, the Independent Commission Against Corruption will investigate and follow up independently. The 2012 Chief Executive Election and the 2012 Legislative Council Election continued to be conducted in a fair, open and honest manner, and in accordance with the relevant legislation.
"Under the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', we have autonomy in operating the strategic trade control system, and administer our own control system which separates from that of the Mainland. Hong Kong has always been fully committed to maintaining comprehensive and stringent control on trade in strategic commodities through objective and transparent legislation. Hong Kong implements both import and export licensing, in contrast to most members of international strategic trade control regimes which control only export of strategic commodities. The transit of more sensitive strategic commodities requires import and export licences. We have been enforcing the controls seriously and vigorously and has been closely co-operating with our trading partners, including the United States, on suspicious shipments.
"HKSAR is fully committed to protecting the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and maintaining an environment in which a free and active press can operate under minimum regulation. The Hong Kong Police Force recently implemented a series of measures to facilitate media coverage, including the visits of political dignities. The facilitation measures include setting up press areas in the security zones outside the venues where activities were held, deploying Media Liaison Teams to assist the media at press areas, setting up media hotlines, and briefing the media on the arrangements beforehand.
"The freedom and right of procession and peaceful assembly are enshrined in the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance. The operational policy of the Police is to endeavour to strike a balance by facilitating all lawful and peaceful public meetings and processions on one hand and, on the other hand, reducing the impact of such meetings and processions on other members of the public or road users and to ensure public order and public safety. From 2009 to 2011, more than 16 750 public order events were held in Hong Kong and the majority of them were conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner.
"We cannot agree with the USCC's repeated recommendation that the reporting under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act should be re-enacted. The implementation of 'One Country, Two Systems' according to the Basic Law is an internal affair of the HKSAR. We hope that foreign governments and legislatures will respect this fact."
Ends/Wednesday, November 14, 2012