15 May 1999

Democrats Urge Chief Executive Not to Seek Mainland Override of Highest Court

The Democratic Party today met with Chief Executive C.H. Tung to urge him not to ask the mainland National People's Congress Standing Committee to override the Court of Final Appeal's January decision giving the right to live in Hong Kong to an unknown but potentially enormous number of mainland immigrants.  The Hong Kong SAR government is believed to be on the verge of asking the NPC/SC to reinterpret relevant provisions of the Basic Law.  After the meeting, Mr. Lee said he believed the government would seek to pass a motion in the next session of the Legislative Council in support of reinterpretation by the NPC and that the unelected, pro-Beijing majority in the Legco ensured the motion's success.

Martin Lee commented:

"Mr. Tung said no decision has been made but we came away feeling that he will seek an NPC reinterpretation of the Basic Law, effectively overruling the Court of Final Appeal, and that he will do so through a motion in the Legislative Council.  He has got the votes.  But make no mistake, such a move by the NPC would cause untold damage to the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the 'one country, two systems' arrangement and the so-called 'high degree of autonomy' Hong Kong is supposed to enjoy.  The Hong Kong government is apparently willing to surrender power of final adjudication,, guaranteed by the Basic Law.  This sends a devastating signal to the international community.  We told Mr. Tung he would be responsible."


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