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CAB expresses regret at false allegations made by Taiwan authorities

In response to the unfounded comments made by the Mainland Affairs Council in Taiwan over the past few days on the third term Chief Executive (CE) election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Constitutional Affairs Bureau (CAB) of the HKSAR Government expressed regret today (March 26). Likewise inaccurate were the statements by those in Taiwan on the circumstances relating to the refusal to allow Mr Chang Chih-yu, former Senior Manager of Chung Hwa Travel Service (CHTS), to enter Hong Kong, the CAB said.

The HKSAR Government abides by the "One China" principle, and has been actively promoting exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan in accordance with "Qian’s Seven Principles". People in Hong Kong generally look forward to the early implementation of "Three Links", which would create a conducive environment for cross-Strait interaction, including exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The HKSAR Government has all along been taking a pragmatic and professional approach to facilitating exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan. The CAB has received visitors and organisations from various sectors in Taiwan, including people from the academia and business sector, political party personalities and legislators, youth groups, students and journalists. These also include people from both the pan-Blue and the pan-Green camps.

A spokesman for the CAB said, "We have positively responded to the request by CHTS and arranged a group of journalists from Taiwan to visit a number of government departments over the past few days, with a view to enhancing their understanding of the electoral system in Hong Kong, especially the laws, regulations and arrangements relating to the CE election as well as the comprehensive approach that we have adopted in ensuring that the election is conducted in a clean, fair, open and just manner. In terms of the arrangements for the media to cover the third term CE election, the facilitation and support given to journalists from Taiwan were exactly the same as those given to journalists from Hong Kong and all over the world. We have also arranged the accompanying Taiwan officials to join activities which are not restricted to the press.

"It is the Basic Law that prescribes for the first time universal suffrage as the ultimate aim for Hong Kong’s constitutional development. Both the Central Authorities and the HKSAR are fully committed to taking forward universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law. How to achieve the aim of universal suffrage is a matter to be pursued by the Central Authorities and the HKSAR together under the framework of the Basic Law. Those in Taiwan have no role in this regard."

The CAB spokesman said that, similar to other elections in Hong Kong, the third term CE election was conducted in accordance with the Basic Law and the relevant electoral legislation, and in an open, fair and just manner. The allegations made by those in Taiwan that the election was prone to intervention and manipulation were unreasonable and unfounded. Such allegations represented a strong disrespect of the Basic Law, the candidates as well as the choice made by the Election Committee (EC) members based on their own will as protected by law. The election result, as a matter of fact, was in line with the results of the opinion surveys conducted by different bodies in the past few months. This demonstrated the EC’s broad representativeness.

As regards the entry application by Mr Chang Chih-yu, the Immigration Department of the HKSAR Government has all along been handling entry cases in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong as well as established mechanism and procedures.

Taiwan residents allowed to work in Hong Kong are issued with an employment permit. Holding this permit does not necessarily mean that they automatically have the right to enter Hong Kong. It is also clearly stated in the permit that the permit is issued for the purpose of providing the holder with a document which allows the holder to re-enter the HKSAR at any time within the period of permitted stay. Upon expiry of the employment visa, the holder cannot continue to stay in or re-enter the HKSAR even if the permit has not expired. Any Taiwan resident who intends to come to Hong Kong should first obtain a valid visa before leaving for Hong Kong. The Immigration Department has not, in response to any enquiries, indicated that one may come to Hong Kong solely on the strength of the permit but without any valid visa.

The CAB spokesman reiterates, "The HKSAR Government treasures the relations between Hong Kong and Taiwan, and has strived to facilitate exchanges between the two places. The HKSAR Government hopes that the Taiwan authorities could respect the fact that Hong Kong has reunified with the motherland, respect the Basic Law, and facilitate the early implementation of ‘Three Links’, so as to allow more room for the further and positive development of the relations between Hong Kong and Taiwan."

Ends/Monday, March 26, 2007