Date
18 November 2017
On the release of a biannual British government report on Hong Kong, British Foreign Secretary William Hague says Hong Kong's constitutional structure should be respected. Photo: AFP
On the release of a biannual British government report on Hong Kong, British Foreign Secretary William Hague says Hong Kong's constitutional structure should be respected. Photo: AFP

Britain urges respect for HK constitutional structure

Hong Kong’s unique constitutional structure works well and should continue to be respected and seen to be respected, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday, citing a biannual British government report.

In the 23-page report on Hong Kong’s politics, economy, human rights and freedom, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain believes that the one country, two systems approach and a high level of autonomy are equally important to Hong Kong’s future prosperity and security. Similar reports in the past focused mainly on the former British colony’s prosperity and stability.

Hague said he has closely watched discussions on political reforms in Hong Kong and the British government’s attitude remains the same — that any reform should be based on the common will of the Hong Kong government, the central government and the people of Hong Kong within the framework of the Basic Law and decisions of the National People’s Congress.

Reprinting in full Article 45 of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the report notes that both the Hong Kong and central governments have made it clear that public nomination of chief executive candidates is not compatible with the Basic Law.

The report also said there is no perfect model, and the important thing is that “the people of Hong Kong have a genuine choice and feel that they have a real stake in the outcome”. Achieving that will require all parties to continue to engage in constructive dialogue, it said.

The document also quoted a Reporters Without Borders report blaming the Chinese Communist Party for “growing subjugation of the Hong Kong executive and its pressure on the Hong Kong media through its liaison office,” citing decisions to pull advertising from pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and a knife attack on Ming Pao editor Kevin Lau.

Ma Ngok, associate professor at Chinese University’s government and public administration department, said the British government’s position in the report is vague and raises doubts that it would keep its promises in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, according to Ming Pao.

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TL/AC/SK

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