Transcript of SJ's statement

The following is the transcript of the statement made by the Secretary for Justice, Ms Elsie Leung, at the airport on her return from Beijing this (Saturday) evening:

"Now I went to Beijing and represented the Chief Executive to express the views of Hong Kong people and of the SAR Government on the recent judgement of the Court of Final Appeal. I met with the legal experts yesterday. They were Professor Xiao Weiyun, Professor Xu Chongde and Professor Wu Jianfan. They were Basic Law drafters, they participated in the drafting of the Basic Law. I had also very useful exchanges with the officials of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office this morning. The meeting was also participated by officials of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. We discussed the matter in detail; we had free and useful exchanges. I also met Mr Liao Hui, Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and also Mr He Chunlin, the Secretary-General of the Standing Committee of the NPC. Now we also had very useful discussion and exchanges on the matter. I think this sort of communication is necessary and also very useful.

"On the question of the Court of Final Appeal judgement, the Mainland authorities expressed the view that there were passages in the Court of Final Appeal judgement relating to the status and power of the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee, and they are of the opinion that this is contradictory to the principles in the Constitution and in the Basic Law, and they feel that that should be rectified. On the fact that as a result of the judgement of the Court of Final Appeal, the number of people entitled to right of abode in Hong Kong has been increased tremendously, and that there would be a burden on our resources, a burden on our society, and also that Hong Kong people are very concerned about this, they expressed understanding on the matter; however they said that those people who are entitled to right of abode in Hong Kong are at the moment until they come to Hong Kong residents of the Mainland and they must observe the laws of the Mainland, including the regulation relating to exit from the Mainland, but they are negotiating, the relevant authorities in the Mainland are negotiating, with the Immigration Department of Hong Kong to see what measures can be taken to ensure that these people will come to Hong Kong in an orderly way.

"Now I used every opportunity to express the concern of Hong Kong people on the fear over the rule of law as a result of the opinion expressed by the Mainland, and also it appeared that if the matter is not handled well, their confidence over the rule of law might be impaired. They expressed understanding of such sentiments, and they also said that in dealing with the matter, they will adhere strictly to the principle of "one country two systems" and also to the Basic Law. They will also take into consideration the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. The Mainland officials agreed with what Mr Tung Chee Hwa said, that "one country two systems" is a new concept. That some problems have arisen in its implementation is inevitable but it doesn't mean that the Central People's Government have lost confidence over the Hong Kong SAR because of this matter. In the past 20 months very good relationship has been established between the Mainland and Hong Kong and since this is a problem within one country, they are confident that the matter will be resolved satisfactorily, and I must agree with that.

"I am reporting the matter to the Chief Executive and I hope that a satisfactory solution will be resolved with the co-operation and constructive participation of all parties, of all the people in Hong Kong. Thank you."

End/Saturday, February 13, 1999