Press Releases

Government's statement on FCO's Twelfth Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong

In response to media enquiries on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's twelfth six-monthly report on Hong Kong (July 1 to December 31, 2002), a Government spokesman said today (February 27), "We note that the report has again pointed out that the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle in Hong Kong continues to work well in practice."

On the implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Government spokesman said that Hong Kong had a constitutional responsibility to enact laws to protect national security.

"The Government has clarified and refined the proposals put forward in the Consultation Document, taking into account the views expressed during the consultation," he said.

"The strict and clear definitions in the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill show that we are responsive to the concerns of the public. We are firmly committed to ensuring that the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Basic Law are maintained. The position of the HKSAR as an international financial and business centre with free flow of information will remain unchanged," the spokesman said.

As regards the case involving the 16 persons charged for obstruction and assaulting a police officer, etc., the Government spokesman pointed out that the case had gone through the due process of the law and the court had delivered judgment.

"It is a fact that the 16 persons were Falun Gong followers. But the fact that they were Falun Gong followers was not the reason why they were arrested, prosecuted, or sentenced. Our law does not discriminate against people because of who they are, or what they believe in," he said.

On the conviction of the three men for holding or assisting in the holding of an unauthorized assembly, the Government spokesman said that the case had gone through the due process of the law. "The court has delivered judgment and the verdict is clear," he said.

"In dealing with these and other cases, the HKSAR Government has acted in good faith and in accordance with the rule of law," he added.

"The Basic Law provides full protection for the freedoms of speech, procession, demonstration and peaceful assembly; 12 135 public meetings/processions were held in Hong Kong from July 1997 to January 2003, an average of six events daily," the Government spokesman said.

The spokesman concluded that the HKSARG remained firmly committed to the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms as provided for in the Basic Law. HKSARG would also continue to uphold the rule of law.

"Progress continues to be made in constitutional development according to the Basic Law. We have just introduced the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2003 to propose, inter alia, that the number of directly elected seats should be increased to 30," the spokesman added.

End/Thursday, February 27, 2003