China opposes any foreign intervention in Hong Kong matters, which are China's internal affairs, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson told yesterday's regular press conference.
Qin Gang made the remarks when asked to comment on the meeting between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Martin Lee, a lawmaker from Hong Kong's Legislative Council.
Rice and Lee met on Tuesday in Washington. A State Department spokesperson said after the meeting that the US supports Hong Kong's continued campaign to uphold democracy and universal suffrage.
Qin said China has always attached great importance to and has actively supported the progressive development of Hong Kong's political system based on the special administrative region's Basic Law and the real situation there.
He expressed the belief that as long as all Hong Kong people can take Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity into consideration and adopt a rational attitude to seek consensus, Hong Kong's political system would develop in a steady, sound and orderly way, and favorable conditions would be created for finally achieving the goal outlined in the Basic Law -- the Chief Executive and Legislative Council selection by general election.
In another development, as an 80-kilometer-long slick in the Songhua River approaches the Heilong River (called Amur in Russia), Qin said equipment to test for benzene pollutants and 150 tons of activated carbon to upgrade water filtration systems are on their way to Russia.
China will dispatch professionals to Russia to help install the equipment, he added.
Officials from Khabarovsk, the Russian city that is likely to be most affected by the water pollution, had expressed appreciation for the timely assistance, he said, noting that the two countries are negotiating an agreement on joint supervision on water quality.
On November 13, a blast at a chemical plant in Jilin City, northeast China's Jilin Province, caused 100 tons of chemicals mainly benzene and nitrobenzene to leak into the Songhua River, which flows through Jilin and Heilongjiang before entering Russia.
The accident forced Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang, to suspend water supply for four days last week because of contamination.
Qin reiterated China's determination to minimize the possible impact on Russia.
He said China was watching the situation closely and was keeping its neighbor well informed. The nation began updating Russia with monitoring results daily from last Thursday. "China also welcomes cooperation with international organizations," Qin said, adding the country was also keeping the UN informed.
When asked about the detailed schedule of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's visit to Beijing from December 4 to 7, Qin said President Hu Jintao, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet with him, as will Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo.
"The two sides will have an exchange of ideas on international and regional issues of mutual concern and the cooperation between China and the UN," Qin said.
During his visit, Annan will also meet with students from Peking University, and will grant some interviews to the Chinese media, he said.
Qin also said the current visit by Manfred Novak, UN Human Rights Commission's special rapporteur on torture, indicates China's sincerity to work with relevant UN human rights mechanisms in a spirit of mutual respect and equality.
Novak's visit began on November 21 and ends today. In addition to Beijing, he visited Lhasa, capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region and Urumqi, capital city of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
During his stay, Novak met with officials from the foreign affairs, justice and public security ministries as well as the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and local officials in Lhasa and Urumqi.
Novak also visited prisons and incarceration facilities in the three cities and talked with some personnel, lawyers and scholars from universities, academic institutions and other non-governmental organizations, Qin said.
The rapporteur on torture is a special procedure under the UN Human Rights Commission, and China believes that Novak's visit will be conducive to further increasing mutual understanding, Qin noted.
Turning to the Korean Peninsula, Qin said China adopts an open attitude toward any proposals conducive to promoting the six-party talks process and to finding a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue there, Qin said.
He said South Korea has offered some suggestions concerning the form and venue for the six-party talks.
It is in the interest of all concerned parties to achieve the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to safeguard the peninsula's peace and stability through dialogue and peaceful negotiations, Qin said, adding that China wants to keep in close touch with other parties concerned and hear their opinions, so as to push forward the six-party talks process.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily December 2, 2005)