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Response to Li Fei : What is not legally binding does not mean it is illegal

09/03/2010

Response to Li Fei : What is not legally binding does not mean it is illegal

Li Fei, Deputy Director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, stated in Beijing today that civil law cannot be applied to interpret public law, and it is a legal misunderstanding to claim that whatever  is not prohibited by the Basic Law is permitted.

The Hon Audrey Eu, Spokesperson of the "5 District Referendum" movement said that the movement calls on people to vote in favour of true universal suffrage and the eventual abolition of functional constituencies in order to reflect the public opinion on this issue. She reiterated that, whether in terms of public law or civil law, the "5 District Referendum" movement does not contravene the Basic Law otherwise the HKSAR Government will have taken prosecution action.

Eu explained that whilst something may not be legally binding, that does not mean it is illegal. For instance, on July 1st 2003, half a million people took to the streets to demand the government shelve Article 23 legislation. Through this action, the citizens were speaking their mind. The demonstration itself was not legally binding, but it was not illegal. Similarly, the "5 District Referendum" is a reflection of public opinion through votes; poll results that are not legally binding are in no sense illegal. If the government is sincere in wanting to implement true universal suffrage as promised in the Basic Law, it should not be afraid of the people’s voice, she added.

Eu also reiterated that the HKSAR Government is only consulting the public on the constitutional arrangement for 2012, without producing a roadmap, and without saying that all functional constituency seats will eventually be abolished. According to Articles 45 and 68 of the Basic Law, the method for selecting the Chief Executive and for forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in the light of the "actual situation" in Hong Kong, therefore the "5 District Referendum" is doing what the government should do but fails to do, that is considering the ‘actual situation’ in Hong Kong. Living up to the spirit of Articles 45 and 68 of the Basic Law, the "5 District Referendum" allows Hong Kong people to speak their mind through the ballot box.

Eu says these non stop high profile and oppressive attacks aim to intimidate Hong Kong people so they will not vote on 16th May. She appeals to Hong Kong voters to exercise their civic right to demand for the eventual abolition of functional constituency seats, so as to bring about a just and fair society.

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