|LCQ1: Government's response to the issues raised by the United Nations Human Rights Committee
Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a reply by the Acting Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah, in the Legislative Council today (March 20):
In April 2011, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government submitted, through the Central People's Government, its third report in the light of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Covenant) to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (Committee). The Committee adopted a "List of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the third periodic report of Hong Kong, China" (List of Issues) in November 2012, and conducted a hearing on that report in Geneva, Switzerland on the 12th and 13th of this month. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
(a) given that paragraph 3 of the List of Issues requested the HKSAR Government to "indicate what further steps have been taken to ensure that the next Chief Executive and Legislative Council elections take place by universal suffrage in compliance with the Covenant", of the details of HKSAR Government's response to the Committee in this respect; and
(b) given that paragraph 3 of the List of Issues requested the HKSAR Government to describe "the conditions for nomination, e.g. age limits, and any other qualifications or restrictions" for the candidates for the next Chief Executive election, of the details of HKSAR Government's response to the Committee in this respect; and given the recent comment of the spokesman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference that he believed that Hong Kong people would elect a person who loved the country and Hong Kong to be the Chief Executive, whether the authorities will set "loving the country and Hong Kong" as one of the conditions for candidacy for the next Chief Executive election?
Our reply to the questions raised by Hon Lau is as follows:
(a) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has made it clear in the "Third Report of the HKSAR of the People's Republic of China in the light of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" and in its response to a written question raised by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) that, HKSAR is committed to attaining the ultimate aim of selecting the Chief Executive (CE) and electing all the members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) by universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law and the "Decision on Issues Relating to the Methods for Selecting the CE of the HKASR and for Forming the LegCo of the HKSAR in the Year 2012 and on Issues Relating to Universal Suffrage" adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in December 2007 (the NPCSC's Decision).
(b) The Government of the HKSAR has made it clear in its response to a written question raised by the UNHRC that, Article 44 of the Basic Law provides that, "the CE of the HKSAR shall be a Chinese citizen of not less than 40 years of age who is a permanent resident of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years".
As set out in the NPCSC's Decision, "in selecting the CE of the HKSAR by the method of universal suffrage, a broadly representative nominating committee shall be formed. The nominating committee may be formed with reference to the current provisions regarding the Election Committee in Annex I to the Hong Kong Basic Law. The nominating committee shall in accordance with democratic procedures nominate a certain number of candidates for the office of the CE, who is to be elected through universal suffrage by all registered electors of the HKSAR, and to be appointed by the Central People's Government".
As for the arrangements for implementing universal suffrage for the CE, the HKSAR Government will conduct extensive consultation with various sectors of the community in the process of formulating the method for electing the CE in 2017.
We would also like to reiterate that, since the reunification of the HKSAR with the Mainland China, the CE elections have been conducted strictly in accordance with the Basic Law and the Chief Executive Election Ordinance (Cap 569), and other relevant requirements and regulations.
The Basic Law and the Chief Executive Election Ordinance have set out clearly the basic qualification criteria for becoming the CE and the eligibility criteria for being a candidate for the CE election.
Any person who meets those qualification and eligibility criteria can stand as a candidate in the CE election. The HKSAR Government will act strictly in accordance with the law to ensure that the CE elections are held in an open, fair and honest manner.
Ends/Wednesday, March 20, 2013