CHINA gave the first sign yesterday of an end to the constitutional crisis triggered by the Court of Final Appeal abode ruling for mainland children. In a despatch issued by Xinhua, a spokesman for the Commission of Legal Affairs of the National People's Congress described the statement made by the five-member court panel on Friday as a 'necessary step' to clarify the controversial judgment on January 29. 'The statement made by Hong Kong's highest court yesterday is necessary to clarify its previous abode-right judgment,' the spokesman said. He emphasised that the NPC was China's highest organ of state power. 'The NPC and its Standing Committee will perform its duties according to the principles of 'one country, two systems' and the Basic Law,' he said. A Hong Kong government spokesman said last night the Government had taken note of the mainland statement and welcomed it. A government source said the NPC spokesman's remarks did not necessarily imply further action would be taken. In a decision condemned by pro-democracy politicians and some legal experts as bowing to political pressure and a bad precedent for judicial independence, the court on Friday accepted a government application for clarification of its judgment relating to the constitutional jurisdictions of the NPC and its Standing Committee. In Friday's clarification, the five Court of Final Appeal judges made a unanimous statement saying they had not intended to challenge the authority of the National People's Congress. This had been the part of the ruling that had drawn most criticism. 'The court accepts that it cannot question that authority,' the statement said. Mainland legal experts had earlier attacked the court for overriding the powers and putting itself above the NPC. The NPC spokesman said it had 'noticed' the court statement, but did not specifically say the issue had been clarified. A deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Chen Ziying, said he had noted the statement, but again refused to comment further. Issuing of the Xinhua despatch coincided with the convening of a NPC Standing Committee meeting. The court ruling issue has not been put on the agenda for that meeting nor of a Standing Committee meeting of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Local CPPCC Standing Committee deputy Xu Simin had earlier said he would raise the issue at the next plenum. But two of his colleagues said the court had already clarified the issue and that the row should be over. One member, Tang Hsiang-chien, said: 'It should now be resolved.' Two local NPC deputies doubted whether the controversy had been resolved fully. Ma Lik, who maintained the court judgment had not clarified all the issues, said yesterday's remarks by the NPC spokesman appeared to suggest the NPC Standing Committee might exercise its powers to take some action. NPC colleague Raymond Wu Wai-yung said it was unclear if Beijing was satisfied.