June 3, 1999
Democratically-elected Members of Legco Demand Meeting With State
Council To Oppose Reinterpretation of the Basic Law
Legislator Albert Ho, speaking on behalf of the democratically-elected
members of Legco, announced today that the Government has agreed to forward
their request to Beijing to arrange a meeting between members of the Legco
and members of the State Council responsible for deciding whether the Standing
Committee of the People's National Congress (NPCSC) should intervene in
Hong Kong's right-of-abode issue by "reinterpreting" relevant
provisions of the Basic Law.
The Government has asked the NPCSC to reinterpret the Basic Law in a
manner that will deny the right of abode to children born outside Hong
Kong before their Chinese parent obtained permanent resident status in
Hong Kong. The Government has refused to disclose the report it sent to
Beijing before the State Council makes its decision.
Hong Kong democrats believe that it is wrong to ask the NPCSC to reinterpret
the Basic Law with a view towards overturning a recent judgement of the
Court of Final Appeal. Mr. Ho stated that "Such a move will take
the right of final adjudication away from the Hong Kong judiciary and give
it to officials in Beijing. It threatens to destroy the rule of law, judicial
independence and the confidence of Hong Kong citizens in their own political
institutions. This is a matter of paramount importance to the people of
Hong Kong and, therefore, it is only fair that we be given an opportunity
to present the views of the Hong Kong people to Beijing. The Government
has had its chance; now it is our turn."
Legislator Cyd Ho commented, "A rational government would listen
to the views expressed by representatives on each side of the argument
so I am afraid that rejecting our request will send a negative message
to the international community."
Legislator Emily Lau hopes that Beijing will make special visa arrangements
allowing legislators who do not have return-entry permits for travel to
Mainland China to attend the meeting.
Independent legislators including Andrew Wong, Leung Yiu-chung and members
from the Citizen Party, the Frontier and the Democratic Party jointly signed
a letter sent to Premier Zhu Ronji stating their views on this issue.
Albert Ho contact 7112-8632 #9079
Cyd Ho contact 9454-8964
Andrew Wong contact 7312-3838
Emily Lau contact 7223-9519