15 May 1999
Democrats Urge Chief Executive Not to Seek Mainland Override of Highest
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."