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Saturday, June 6, 2015, 12:04

Leung denounces Basic Law burning stunt

By Luis Liu in Hong Kong

Every Hong Kong citizen has an obligation to respect the Basic Law even if they don’t agree with the government’s electoral reform proposals, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Friday.

Students’ representatives from four local universities burned copies of the Basic Law at a rally on Thursday, in front of throngs of attendees and a TV crew. The event was aired live on the Internet.

Speaking after inspecting health measures at the airport, the CE denounced the action and stressed the supreme status of the Basic Law as the city’s constitutional statue.

"The Basic Law is the legal foundation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and guarantees the city’s high degree of autonomy,” Leung said. All Hong Kong citizens are obligated to follow th Basic Law on matters prescribed in it, he added.

Even if people have different views on the government’s electoral reform package, they should always respect the Basic Law, Leung urged.

President of the Legislative Council Jasper Tsang Yok-sing was puzzled by the students’ reasons for the stunt, demanding further explanations.

"When students burned a copy of the Basic Law, are they opposing ‘One Country, Two Systems’?" Tsang said after a radio interview, questioning what message they were trying to send.

They should know that Hong Kong’s “unique role” in China depends on the Basic Law, Tsang said. If the students recognized China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong, he wondered whether they also wanted Hong Kong to become just an ordinary Chinese city by denouncing the statue that underpins the “One Country, Two Systems” policy.

Some media quoted one of the students as saying that they wanted the Basic Law nullified and replaced by a new constitution.

In a separate seminar on Hong Kong’s reform, Rao Geping, a law professor at Peking University and a member of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee under the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said the student activists made a “conspicuous mistake”.

The Basic Law is the cornerstone to Hong Kong’s political stability and economic prosperity, he added, “What else shall we implement (in Hong Kong) if we scrap it?”

However, he stressed that the stunt did not represent the opinion of the majority of Hong Kong people. People are free to suggest amendments to the Basic Law, but this will be a serious issue. Procedures prescribed in Article 159 of the Basic Law must be followed, he said.

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