The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) unveiled Wednesday the Green Paper on Constitutional Development.
The move is aimed at consulting the public on the models, roadmap, and timetable for electing the Chief Executive and for forming the Legislative Council (Legco) of HKSAR by universal suffrage.
The Green Paper on Constitutional Development represents a significant milestone for Hong Kong, said Donald Tsang, chief executive of HKSAR.
"As I had undertaken during my election campaign, we will launch a public consultation exercise on the implementation of universal suffrage after the inauguration of the Third Term HKSAR Government," he said.
"It is now time to identify for Hong Kong a set of solutions to allow constitutional development to progress in a clear direction towards further political maturity in a steady manner," he said.
In the past 20 months, the Commission on Strategic Development of HKSAR had examined the issue of constitutional development in depth, laying a solid foundation for the publication of the Green Paper, he said.
Tsang said that he hoped that after discussion within the community, a mainstream feasible option would emerge that is in line with the Basic Law and the expectations of the public.
"Hong Kong is a place of constant progress. In regards to our electoral system, Hong Kong also needs to strive for creativity, advancement and competitiveness. Our common goal is that, when universal suffrage is attained, aspirants, who are committed to serving the community and are capable of enhancing good governance in Hong Kong, will be elected as the CE and Legco Members," he said.
Unveiling the document at the Legco meeting Wednesday afternoon, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR government Henry Tang said that since 2004, the people of Hong Kong and the community had been discussing widely and expressing views on the issue of constitutional development.
"All proposals received are covered by the Green Paper. At this stage, the HKSAR Government has not formed any specific views on the way forward or ruled out any options," he said, but he noted that any feasible option should be in accordance with the Basic Law.
"We hope that the issue of universal suffrage can be resolved in a satisfactory manner, which would be conducive to the progressive development of Hong Kong's political environment. We cannot afford to allow the issue of universal suffrage to polarize the community any longer," he said.
He said that the public consultation will run until Oct. 10, and after consultation, the HKSAR government will summarize the views received from the community and assess whether a mainstream view could be formed as the basis for taking forward the work to the next phase.
"The CE will submit a report to the Central Government to reflect faithfully any mainstream views formed during the public consultation and other views expressed," he said.
The Green Paper consists of six chapters, including background, constitutional basis of constitutional development and principles of design of the political structure, models for electing the CE by universal suffrage, and models for forming the Legco by universal suffrage.
The paper has also two annexes, namely, composition of the election committee and functional constituencies of the Legco.
(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2007)