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Government's Statement on FCO's Tenth Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong

In response to media enquiries on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s tenth six-monthly report on Hong Kong (1 July to 31 December 2001), a Government spokesman said today (March 6), "We note that the UK Government has again made a positive assessment of developments in Hong Kong. The HKSAR Government is fully committed to the full and faithful implementation of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle."

The spokesman said that the HKSAR Government would continue to exercise a high degree of autonomy and would ensure that the cornerstones of Hong Kong's success remain firmly embedded. These include the rule of law and an independent judiciary, a level playing field, an advanced economic infrastructure and an open society in which all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law are respected.

On the HKSAR's efforts in the fight against international terrorism, the spokesman said that while there was no terrorist infrastructure or support base in Hong Kong, the HKSAR Government was committed to maintaining co-operation with the international community and would step up its efforts to combat terrorism.

"We are determined to fully implement the anti-terrorism measures under the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Hong Kong will spare no effort in preventing and suppressing terrorist financing, and will continue to strengthen preventive measures and law enforcement in this regard both domestically and internationally through its Presidency of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering."

"Our contribution to international co-operation on trade matters has been well recognized by the international community. The election of our Permanent Representative to WTO as the Chairman of its General Council for the year 2001 is an indicator of Hong Kong's high standing in the international community. This achievement is the result of the cumulative efforts of our trade policy officials both in Geneva and Hong Kong over a period of many years," the spokesman said.

On the right of abode issues, the spokesman reaffirmed that the HKSAR Government would handle the issues in accordance with the law. "We respect the Court of Final Appeal's judgements on the three right of abode cases handed down on 20 July 2001 and have been processing other relevant cases in accordance with the law and the court's decision."

Commenting on the constitutional development of Hong Kong, the spokesman said that the HKSAR Government would consider very carefully the impact of democratic reform on the society and adopt a step-by-step approach. "We have just completed an election of the Second Term Chief Executive. It serves as an important milestone in Hong Kong's constitutional development. When the next Legislative Council elections are completed in 2004, we will review the experience of our elections before deciding the way forward."

End/Wednesday, March 6, 2002