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HK changes ‘must move forward’

Updated: Mar 5,2015 11:27 AM     China Daily

NPC says Aug 1 decision is unshakable after student activist applies for judicial review

The decision on Hong Kong’s constitutional reform made on Aug 31 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is “unshakable”, Fu Ying, the NPC’s spokeswoman, said on March 4.

She said it is now time for the reform process to move forward without further delays.

Speaking at a news conference for the congress’s annual session, Fu said she hopes Hong Kong can embrace universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law as originally planned.

Qiao Xiaoyang, chairman of the NPC’s Law Committee, said there is no possibility of the Aug 31 decision being changed.

Fu was asked about the recent tension between Hong Kong residents and mainland tourists, and replied, “I always feel there should be mutual respect and we must remember each other’s good qualities.”

She said she remembers the generous donations that came from Hong Kong after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the many residents from the region who volunteered to visit the stricken areas.

Fu said a new mainland reality TV show, Running Man, demonstrates how everyone in a team should work together as the team will fail if anyone is left behind.

She said the show, which features young TV stars from both the mainland and Hong Kong, provides an important example of mutual cooperation.

“Everyone involved has to work together in order to succeed,” she said. “I think some problems are not nonnegotiable and can be solved by talking things over. Focusing on negative things is counterproductive.”

On March 3, a student activist from the University of Hong Kong who was a leader of last year’s illegal Occupy Central movement applied to the Hong Kong High Court for a judicial review of the Aug 31 decision.

The application was criticized by members of the Hong Kong delegations to the two sessions, who urged the opposition camp to abandon their delaying tactics.

Henry Tang Ying-yen, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said the application is “a waste of time” because only the NPCSC has the authority to interpret the Basic Law.

“A Hong Kong court does not have the authority to handle this issue,” said Tang, a former chief secretary for administration.

CPPCC Standing Committee member Chan Wing-kee agreed, saying Hong Kong had wasted too much time already and there should be no more delays.

CPPCC member Lau Siu-kai said it is highly unlikely that a judicial review will overturn the Aug 31 decision.

“The NPCSC is the nation’s highest legislature,” Lau said. “Its decisions cannot be challenged outside the mainland.”

Bernard Chan Chi-sze, a Hong Kong deputy to the NPC, said, “The central government had stated very clearly that the Aug 31 decision is final.”