The insistence of Hong Kong lawyers that it was inappropriate for the mainland's top legislature to interpret the Basic Law reflected their lack of understanding of the mini-constitution, a state leader claimed yesterday.
National People's Congress chairman Wu Bangguo said some members of Hong Kong's legal sector were used to interpreting the Basic Law from a common-law perspective.
Some lawyers had questioned the appropriateness of reinterpretation of the Basic Law by the NPC Standing Committee, said Hong Kong deputy Ip Kwok-him, quoting Mr Wu.
'It's a reflection of their lack of understanding of the Basic Law and the mainland legal system,' he said, quoting Mr Wu. The chairman, whose remarks were made at a 90-minute meeting with Hong Kong deputies to the NPC, reiterated that the power to interpret the Basic Law was vested in the Standing Committee. He said it was necessary to get a better understanding of the Basic Law.
Another deputy, Wong Kwok-kin, said that without naming names, Mr Wu had said that those who opposed reinterpretation in a high-profile manner had not read the Basic Law thoroughly.
Mr Wu said the Basic Law Committee would step up efforts to study the meaning of individual articles of the mini-constitution.
In Hong Kong, barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah of the Article 45 Concern Group disagreed that legal professionals in the city did not have sufficient knowledge of the Basic Law, saying he had no idea who Mr Wu was referring to.
The central government had backed the work of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and the Hong Kong government, said CCTV, quoting Mr Wu.
Mr Wu, who ranks second in the politburo, called on various sectors to support the chief executive and the administration to govern the city in accordance with the law.
Beijing was pushing ahead with Hong Kong's democratic development, director of the central government's Hong Kong liaison office Gao Siren said, quoting Mr Wu.