Constitutional progress disappointing, says British report
Hong Kong's progress in constitutional development has been disappointing, the British government said in a report to Parliament yesterday.
The government maintained that the city must advance to a system of universal suffrage as soon as possible to enhance its stability and prosperity.
Reviewing Hong Kong's progress under mainland rule, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said: 'It remains a regrettable fact that the vast majority of Hong Kong's citizens did not get to vote in the election.'
On the release of the green paper, he said 'constitutional development is one area in which Hong Kong's progress has been disappointing'.
He said he hoped that people would use the consultation to express a clear view on the future and that the government would respond accordingly.
He also congratulated Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Alan Leong Kah-kit for participating fully in the chief executive elections in March, adding: 'The decade just ended is one worth celebrating. Ten years on, Hong Kong continues to be a success story.'
The report addressed comments in June by National People's Congress standing committee chairman Wu Bangguo, who told a forum marking the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the Basic Law there was no question that the city is entitled to 'residual power' - power to manoeuvre in areas not overtly granted to it by Beijing.
'Mr Wu's comments gave rise to concerns in Hong Kong that the central government was attempting to restrict the autonomy of Hong Kong and impose further limits on the constitutional reform process,' the report said.
Britain argued that the Joint Declaration undertook that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy except in foreign affairs and defence.