Legco motion will voice dissatisfaction and regret at denial of universal suffrage Legco will defy warnings from Beijing and debate a motion expressing regret over the decision of the National People's Congress Standing Committee to rule out universal suffrage in Hong Kong in 2007. Legislative Council president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai rejected a motion by Democratic Party lawmakers last week to criticise the Standing Committee over its ruling, saying it was tantamount to accusing it of breaching the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. But Democratic Party vice-chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, who proposed the motion, yesterday said the lawmakers had agreed to modify the wording to express regret and dissatisfaction at the decision. Mrs Fan blocked the part of the Democrats' motion that sought to criticise the Standing Committee for not conforming to the principles of 'one country, two systems' and a 'high degree of autonomy' for Hong Kong. 'We won't even have a chance to debate if we insist on keeping the wording blocked by Mrs Fan. But that doesn't mean we accept her ruling,' Mr Ho said. Pro-democracy lawmakers will move a separate motion accusing Mrs Fan of restricting freedom of debate in the legislature. But the lawmakers decided not to seek a judicial review of Mrs Fan's ruling, saying such action might prompt the Standing Committee to make further interpretation of the Basic Law. Responding to the original motion, the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong said it was unconstitutional and went beyond Legco's powers. The office said the motion, regardless of whether it was passed or not, was a challenge to the Standing Committee's position as the standing organ of the country's highest authority. Democratic Party chairman Yeung Sum said pro-democracy lawmakers would still criticise the Standing Committee for breaching the principles of 'one country, two systems' and a 'high degree of autonomy' during the debate, which is scheduled for Wednesday next week. Dr Yeung criticised Mrs Fan for setting a precedent for restricting Legco members' freedom to debate. 'We will table a separate motion to express our discontent,' the party leader said. Mrs Fan's spokesman said members had the right to table motions as long as they were in line with Legco's rules of procedure and there had been similar cases before. Whether or not the motion targeted her was irrelevant, he said. The authority of the Legco president was not something that could not be challenged. On the prospects of a judicial review against Mrs Fan, Dr Yeung said such a legal challenge would take a long time to prepare. 'Some members have also expressed concerns that it might prompt more interpretations by the NPC,' he said.