|CMAB's response to remarks by Lee Cheuk-yan
In response to a "Letter to Hong Kong" by the General Secretary, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Mr Lee Cheuk-yan, broadcast on RTHK, a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau today (July 8) made the following statement:
"First, the Hong Kong SAR has to develop a democratic system which suits Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law. As regards the development of political and social systems on the Mainland, this is not a matter for the HKSAR; it is to be dealt with in accordance with the constitution of the State.
Second, the political system of the HKSAR is formulated in accordance with the Basic Law.
When the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was extended to Hong Kong by the British Government in 1976, a reservation was made. Article 25 (b) of the ICCPR is not applicable to Hong Kong, i.e. Article 25 (b) which concerns elections is not applicable to the Executive Council and Legislative Council.
According to the note submitted to the Secretary General of the United Nations by the Central People's Government and Article 39 of the Basic Law, the reservation is still applicable to the HKSAR.
Although Article 25 (b) of the ICCPR is not applicable to the HKSAR, Hong Kong will attain universal suffrage because when the Basic Law was enacted in 1990, universal suffrage was already stipulated as the ultimate aim. Thus, the attaining of universal suffrage originates from the Basic Law, and it is not because of the fact that the ICCPR is applicable to Hong Kong.
The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, has clearly undertaken that he would deal with the issue of universal suffrage within his term, with a view to coming up with a solution.
Third, under the "One Country, Two Systems", the HKSAR has strengthened its economic cooperation with the Mainland in accordance with the Basic Law. This is beneficial both to the Mainland and Hong Kong.
Since the SAR signed the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with the Mainland and implemented the individual travel scheme in 2003, Hong Kong's economy has recovered and unemployment rate has declined. The interest of multinational enterprises in investing in Hong Kong has been maintained.
At present, more than 3,800 overseas companies have their regional headquarters in Hong Kong, an increase of 50% as compared with that in 1997.
In 2006, over $300 billion were raised in the Hong Kong stock market, making Hong Kong the world's second largest initial public offerings (IPO) market after London.
The HKSAR should make full use of the room for further development conferred by the provisions of the Basic Law, so as to promote our development as an international financial, shipping and trading centre.
Fourth, the third-term SAR Government is a 'people-based' government. Our principal officials will reach out to the community, communicate with the general public, feel the pulse of the community and assess public sentiments so that the Government's policies can meet the needs of the people and maintain a harmonious community."
Ends/Sunday, July 8, 2007