Linked with Cyd Ho Sau-lan – Hong Kong, China, and with Centre for Comparative and Public Law.
by Cyd Ho – difused on RTHK Radio 3 – April 11, 2004, and published on Cyd Ho’s personal website.
Excerpt: … Before the Constitutional Development Task Force headed by the Chief Secretary finished with its consultation exercise, the NPC Standing Committee announced that it would interpret the Basic Law in the meeting held from April 2nd to 6th. A ceiling was abruptly set before the direction of reform was thoroughly debated. We all realized that it would be critical for the democratization in Hong Kong, but we don’t know what it’s all about. The details were kept from Hong Kong people, and were not made known to the public until the Standing Committee meeting was over. We didn’t have a chance to discuss the changes brought about by the interpretation. But the new meaning of the provision would be imposed on us and curb the progress in political reform. From now on, the Central Authority holds the string.
Let me reiterate. The interpretation will do more harm than good to Hong Kong. When the government, theoretically, is to be abided by law, could anytime give new meaning to the provision in the name of interpretation, people’s trust and confidence in the Basic Law will be gone.
We are most concerned with one point in the interpretation, i.e., the Central Authority will be the one to decide if there’s a need to change the method for selecting the chief executive and the Legislative Council. By the interpretation, the Chief Executive of HKSAR could submit a report to the NPC, and it is for the NPC to decide if the need to change is valid. The Chief Executive could introduce a bill to the Legislative Council to implement the reform only when the NPC agrees. It is stated in Annex I and Annex II that, change in the method of selection of the CE and the Legislative Council has to be endorsed by a two-third majority of all the members of the Council and has the consent of the Chief Executive, and the amendments shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the NPC for approval in the case of CE, and for record in the case of Legislative Council. Apparently, the NPC takes on an active role to initiate or stop political reform in Hong Kong through the interpretation … (full text).