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Top legislator: HKSAR constitutional development far-reaching for long prosperity, stability
2008/1/9 11:45:54
Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said here Saturday that the approved decision on selecting chief executive and the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as well as universal suffrage is "far-reaching" for a long prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.

The NPC Standing Committee considered at its 31st session the "Report on the Public Consultation on Constitutional Development and on whether there is a need to amend the methods for selecting the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and for forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2012" submitted by HKSAR Chief Executive Tsang Yam-kuen on Dec. 12.

The NPC Standing Committee approved that appropriate amendments may be made to the specific method for selecting the fourth HKSAR Chief Executive and the specific method for forming the fifth term HKSAR Legislative Council in the year 2012.

The committee also decided that the election of the fifth HKSAR chief executive in the year 2017 may be implemented by universal suffrage.

After the chief executive is selected by universal suffrage, the election of the HKSAR Legislative Council may be implemented by the method of electing all the members by universal suffrage.

Wu said the decision is significant to comprehensively implement the principle of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing the HKSAR," and the high degree of autonomy, as well as the HKSAR Basic Law.

It will also ensure the gradual, progressive and healthy constitutional development in Hong Kong in line with the HKSAR Basic Law, while maintaining and promoting long prosperity and stability in Hong Kong, Wu said.

The committee decided that the election of the fourth HKSAR Chief Executive in the year 2012 shall not be implemented by the method of universal suffrage. The election of the fifth term HKSAR Legislative Council in the year 2012 shall not be implemented by the method of electing all the members by universal suffrage.

The half-and-half ratio between members returned by functional constituencies and members returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections shall remain unchanged. The procedures for voting on bills and motions in the Legislative Council shall remain unchanged, the committee decided.

The committee decided that at an appropriate time prior to the selection of the HKSAR Chief Executive and the HKSAR Legislative Council by universal suffrage, the Chief Executive shall make a report to the NPC Standing Committee as regards the issue of amending the method for selecting the Chief Executive and forming the Legislative Council.

The bills on the amendments to the method for selecting the Chief Executive and forming the Legislative Council and the proposed amendments to such bills shall be introduced by the HKSAR government to the Legislative Council.

Such amendments must be made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Legislative Council and the consent of the Chief Executive and they shall be reported to the NPC Standing Committee for approval, according to the decision.

Wu said the NPC Standing Committee reviewed Chief Executive Tsang's Dec. 12 report and made the decision strictly in line with the legislative procedure. The NPC Standing Committee meeting of chairman and vice chairmen decided on Dec. 17 to include review on Tsang's report in the agenda of the 31st session of the NPC Standing Committee, which concluded Saturday.

Wu said the NPC Standing Committee reached consensus on the opinions and advice proposed in Tsang's report, including the general hope among Hong Kong people for an early decision on the universal suffrage schedule.

"Those opinions and advice are objective and practical," Wu said. "It is necessary, feasible and legitimate to clarify appropriate amendments to the method for selecting HKSAR Chief Executive and the Legislative Council in 2012 and set up a schedule on universal-suffrage selection."

Since Hong Kong returned to the motherland a decade ago, Wu said, the principle of "one country, two systems" and the HKSAR Basic Law have been generally effective.

The central government firmly sticks to the principle of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing HKSAR" and high degree of autonomy, strictly abides by the HKSAR Basic Law, and fully supports governance of the HKSAR Chief Executive and the HKSAR government, in order to keep long prosperity and stability, Wu said.

Under the HKSAR Basic Law, the Chief Executive led all ranks and circles in Hong Kong to composedly address various challenges to Hong Kong, maintain stability in Hong Kong, and achieve a sound situation of growing economy, stable society and better livelihood, Wu said.

Since the economic recovery in 2003, Wu said, Hong Kong has kept a good momentum on development, remaining an international financial, trading and transportation center.

"Hong Kong remains the free and open economy with the most vitality throughout the world," Wu said.

Evidence proves and will continue proving the arrangement of "one country, two systems" could be achieved and run soundly, with full vitality, Wu said.

The HKSAR Basic Law is a good law tested by the practice, and implementation of the Basic Law is not a one-strike-for-all job but a generation-after-generation demanding task, he said.

"We should further solidify our determination on implementing the Basic Law, cherish the hard-achieved sound situation in Hong Kong, safeguard the dignity of the Basic Law and consciously push forward the great cause of fulfilling the principle of 'one country, two systems," Wu said.

The HKSAR constitutional development will undoubtedly affect implementation of the principle of "one country, two systems" and the HKSAR Basic Law, relationship between the HKSAR and the main land and the interests of the Hong Kong people, and thus have significant bearing on the long prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, Wu said.

The central government always attaches great importance to the constitutional development in Hong Kong, he said.

With the principle of gradual and stable constitutional development stipulated by the Basic Law, Wu said, the NPC Standing Committee clarified the timetable for universal suffrage in selecting the HKSAR Chief Executive and forming the HKSAR Legislative Council, which again embodies the policy of the central government on promoting constitutional development in HongKong and meets fundamental interests of the Hong Kong people.

"We believe that the HKSAR government would hold high the banner of the Basic Law, unify all ranks of life, appropriately address issues concerning the constitutional development in line with the NPC Standing Committee decision, and finally reach the goal set in the Basic Law that HKSAR Chief Executive and Legislative Council members are selected by universal suffrage," Wu said.

Source: Xinhua
 

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