Government responds to July 1 procession

     In response to the procession today (July 1), a Government spokesman said that as the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Basic Law is the foundation for implementing the policies of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy as well as maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

     The spokesman said, "Under the protection of the Basic Law and with the support of the country, Hong Kong has all along enjoyed the dual advantages of 'one country, two systems'. Apart from maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, the Basic Law also protects and upholds core values such as freedom, human rights, democracy, rule of law and clean governance. The fundamental rights and duties of Hong Kong residents are also fully protected by the Basic Law."

     On the demand of some procession participants to amend the Basic Law, the spokesman said the HKSAR Government takes the view that this would absolutely not be conducive to the long-term and overall interests and well-being of Hong Kong.

     On the constitutional development of Hong Kong, the spokesman said that Article 45 and Article 68 of the Basic Law stipulate respectively the ultimate aims of selecting the Chief Executive (CE) and electing all members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) by universal suffrage.

     He said, "After conducting two rounds of extensive public consultations which lasted for a total of seven months, the HKSAR Government put forward a package of proposals on the method for selecting the CE by universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law and the relevant Interpretation and Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The proposals are in accordance with the relevant constitutional and legal regime, and are also reasonable and rational. The motion in respect of the said package of proposals had to be endorsed by a two-thirds majority of all members of LegCo. Unfortunately, the motion was vetoed at the LegCo meeting on June 18, 2015, as a result of 28 LegCo members (i.e. more than one-third of all the members) casting their votes against the motion. The HKSAR Government expresses deep regrets and disappointment that Hong Kong's constitutional development has to maintain the status quo as a result."

     The spokesman said the HKSAR Government has reiterated many times before that should the constitutional development proposals be vetoed, it would be infeasible, no matter from the perspectives of constitutional procedures or time for legislative work, for the current-term Government to restart the "Five-step Process" in the coming two years.

     "The issue of constitutional development has created disputes in society for a long period and some people have even taken irrational actions. Following the veto of the constitutional development proposals, such disputes should come to an end. The community needs time to calm down, put arguments aside and refocus on priority economic and livelihood policies. The HKSAR Government will work with different sectors of the community, enhancing communication with them and rebuilding mutual trust, with a view to driving the economic development of Hong Kong forward and resolving livelihood issues in areas including housing, poverty, ageing society and the environment," he added.

Ends/Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:34