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Thursday, June 18, 2015, 21:32

NPC stands firm on commitment

NPC stands firm on commitment

The Legislative Council chamber as seen before the motion was put to vote in Hong Kong on June 18, 2015. (Edmond Tang / China Daily)

HONG KONG/BEIJING - The central government expressed regret after Hong Kong lawmakers on Thursday vetoed the government's electoral reform package with eight voting for it and 28 against, following a walkout by most pro-establishment legislators.

Beijing said it remained committed to its proposed framework for universal suffrage for choosing Hong Kong's leader.

"Although the universal suffrage motion was not passed at the Legislative Council, the direction towards universal suffrage and the legal principles laid down in the decision of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, must continue to be upheld in future efforts to pursue universal suffrage," Xinhua quoted a statement from the NPC's Standing Committee as saying.

"The decision shall continue to serve as the constitutional ground for Hong Kong in the future as it enforces universal suffrage in the chief executive election, and its legal force is unquestionable," the statement quoted by Xinhua reads.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Thursday told reporters at a daily news briefing in Beijing: "That the chief executive of the Special Administrative Region's government should not be elected as such in 2017 is a result we are unwilling to see.''

Lu iterated Beijing's backing of its proposals, under which Hong Kong residents would have been able to vote directly for the chief executive in 2017, but only after candidates had been nominated by a Nomination Committee and finally approved by Beijing.

And he said that since Hong Kong was a part of China, the issue was domestic with no other countries permitted to intervene.

NPC stands firm on commitment
Secretary for A dministration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor reads out a statement at the Legislative Council chamber after the proposal was vetoed in Hong Kong on June 18, 2015. (Edmond Tang / China Daily )

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council criticized the lawmakers who voted against the motion.

In a statement, it said the result ran counter to mainstream opinion in Hong Kong. According to the statement, the motion was proposed by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government after listening to opinions from all walks of life in Hong Kong and that is was in line with the Hong Kong Basic Law and relevant decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

"However, a handful of Hong Kong legislators voted against the motion out of their private interests, hindering the democratic development in Hong Kong and blowing an important opportunity for Hong Kong to realize the election by universal suffrage, a result they should be held responsible for," the statement reads.

"We fully acknowledge and support the remarks by Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on this event and highly appreciate the efforts of Hong Kong administration and people from all walks of life in Hong Kong in promoting progress regarding the universal suffrage," the statement reads.

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