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Explanations on Draft Interpretations of Hong Kong Basic Law Annexes
www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-06 18:09:50

    BEIJING, April 6 (Xinhuanet) - The following is a Xinhua translation of the Explanations on the Draft Interpretations of Clause 7 of Annex I and Clause 3 of Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region delivered on April 2 to the National People's Congress Standing Committee:

    Explanations on "Interpretations of Clause 7 of Annex I and Clause 3 of Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (draft)"

    Delivered at the 8th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) on April 2, 2004.     

    By Li Fei, vice-chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee Chairman, Vice Chairpersons, Secretary-general and members of the NPC Standing Committee:

    Entrusted by the meeting of the chairman and vice chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee, I hereby make explanations on "Interpretations of Clause 7 of Annex I and Clause 3 of Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (draft)".

    The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (referred to as "Hong Kong Basic Law" in the following text) stipulates on Hong Kong's constitutional system in accordance with the principle of "one country, two systems" and a series of guidelines and policies the State has adopted for Hong Kong. It has taken into account Hong Kong's legal status and actual situation, as well as the interests of all social strata, and is conducive to the development of the capitalist economy in Hong Kong. While preserving the effective parts of Hong Kong's old constitutional system, the Basic Law states explicitly that the development of democracy in Hong Kong should follow the important principles of "conforming to the actual situation, seeking a gradual and orderly progress and guaranteeing a balanced representation". The fundamental aim of this Law is to safeguard the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

    Methods for the Selection of the Chief Executive and the Formation of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) are important components of Hong Kong's constitutional system. The two methods are separately prescribed in Annex I and Annex II to the Hong Kong Basic Law. Currently, different understandings exist in the Hong Kong society regarding provisions in Clause 7 of Annex I and Clause 3 of Annex II. Clause 7 of Annex I of the Hong Kong Basic Law stipulates: "If there is a need to amend the method for selecting the Chief Executives for terms subsequent to the year 2007, 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 Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval." Clause 3 of Annex II stipulates: "With regard to the method for forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and its procedures for voting on bills and motions after 2007, if there is a need to amend the provisions of this Annex, such amendments must be made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, and they shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record."

    At present different understandings of the two clauses mainly concentrate on four issues: I. Is the year 2007 included in the period defined as "subsequent to the year 2007" and "after 2007" in the annexes? II. Does the expression of "if there is a need to amend" mean that the methods must be amended? III. Who will decide whether or not the methods need amendments and who shall submit bills for amendments? IV. If the methods are not to be amended, shall the existing stipulations continue to be applicable or not? (More)

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