I refer to the letter 'Let the people vote' ( August 27) by Keane Shum, in response to my letter of August 25.
Shum said 'there is something of a contradiction between Article 45 and Article 22' and queried 'how clear the Basic Law really is'.
Article 22 does not give Hong Kong complete autonomy. By stating 'no department of the central people's government and no province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong special administrative region administers on its own in accordance with this law', the article binds the central government and other authorities on the mainland 'in accordance' with the Basic Law.
Article 45 does give the central government the power to appoint or not appoint the returned candidate in a chief executive selection or election. If the central government chooses not to appoint such a candidate, it does not violate Article 22 or any other article of the Basic Law. Hence there is no contradiction. Shum's question illustrates the importance of the points I made in my original article and in subsequent letters: that Hong Kong's 'autonomy' is not complete autonomy but is the 'high degree of autonomy' that has already been well defined in the Basic Law; that Basic Law provisions must be understood in their entirety; and that such provisions are inter-related.
Any proposal for major changes, therefore, such as Martin Lee Chu-ming's to elect the chief executive by universal suffrage ('Two systems, one destiny', August 1), is half-baked without proposing consequential changes to other provisions - in Mr Lee's case, the power of appointment of the central government.
To date, Mr Lee has not responded to the question I put to him ('Be careful of leaders touting half-truths,' August 6): is he also proposing that the central government give up the power of appointment?
C. Y. LEUNG, Member, Executive Council