State Council says Hong Kong "referendum" violates Constitution, Basic Law

21:04, January 15, 2010      

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China's State Council, or Cabinet, on Friday said the so-called "five districts referendum" proposed by some social groups in Hong Kong would violate China's Constitution and the region's Basic Law.

A statement released by a spokesman for the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said the "referendum" had no legal basis in the country's Constitution and violates the special administrative region's (SAR) Basic Law.

The statement said the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, had already made arrangements for the development of Hong Kong's political system, including the principles and procedures that a universal suffrage of the SAR's chief executive and legislature should follow.

The League of Social Democrats and some other organizations in Hong Kong have proposed that five legislators, one from each of Hong Kong's five electoral districts, resign so their candidates will advocate all Hong Kong citizens can vote for general elections in the consequent by-elections.

The proposal is regarded as a de facto referendum.

The NPC Standing Committee had set a timetable that allowed universal suffrage for the SAR's chief executive no earlier than 2017 and that for all the SAR's legislators later.

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang on Thursday said the SAR's government would not recognize any form of referendum on the issue.

The State Council appreciated Tsang's remarks.

No matter how different the opinions on the constitutional development of the SAR were, the Basic Law should be obeyed, the statement said.

All parties and groups should discuss the amendment to the election methods of the region's chief executive and legislature in 2012 in a rational and pragmatic way in line with the SAR's Basic Law and the top legislature's decision, it said.

Source: Xinhua
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