BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Interference in Hong Kong's constitutional development by British politicians is legally groundless and hypocritical, according to a well-known professor of Hong Kong law.
Prof. Zhang Dinghuai, deputy head of Hong Kong and Macao Basic Law Research Center of University of Shenzhen, told Xinhua Hong Kong had no democracy in more than 150 years of United Kingdom's reign, with governors designated by the British government when it ruled.
After being returned to China, Hong Kong has had the right to choose chief executives, and in 2017 Hong Kong residents will have the opportunity to hold a vote for chief executive.
"By comparison, there is no doubt which of the two governments is pushing for democracy in Hong Kong," Zhang said.
Zhang's words came in response to the remarks of Chris Patten, Hong Kong's last governor before Britain returned its sovereignty to China in 1997. Patten in recent days wrote in an article in the Financial Times stating London has "moral responsibilities for what happens in Hong Kong".
"As successive British governments have accepted, the UK has a continuing 'moral and political obligation' to ensure that China respects its commitments" to guarantee Hong Kong's way of life for 50 years from 1997, Patten wrote.
In response, Zhang said the China-U.K. joint statement is an international legal document rather than a domestic law to rule Hong Kong. As China has restored its sovereignty in Hong Kong, the commitments in the joint statement have been fulfilled.
Now it has nothing to do with Britain in governing Hong Kong, as it is China's internal affairs, added Zhang.
The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the top legislature, decided on Sunday to grant universal suffrage in selection of Hong Kong's chief executive on the basis of nomination by a "broadly representative" committee.
Zhang said the mechanism was established in 1990 in the Basic Law of Hong Special Administrative Region (SAR), urging all walks of life in Hong Kong to improve the SAR's constitutional reform plan.
As for the "Occupy Central", Zhang said the movement is aimed at undermining Hong Kong's rule of law and stability, and the civil disobedience is without legitimacy as the Basic Law is a benign law.
Zhang added that freedom is never an absolute concept and it must be contained in laws, otherwise one's freedom will jeopardize that of others.