BEIJING, Aug. 31 -- Top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang has hailed a newly adopted decision on how the leader of Hong Kong will be elected by universal suffrage in 2017 as "another important decision" for the region's constitutional development.
Zhang, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the country's top legislature, made the remarks at the closing meeting of the 10th session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee on Sunday.
It unanimously adopted a decision that candidates for elections to choose the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will have to be nominated by a "broadly representative" committee.
Deliberating on and adopting the "Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by Universal Suffrage and on the Method for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2016" was a key task for the session, he said.
The decision is of great significance to implementing the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong," and ensuring the region maintains a high degree of autonomy while following the Hong Kong Basic Law, according to Zhang.
"The decision is vital for steadily developing democracy in Hong Kong and implementing the selection of the HKSAR Chief Executive by universal suffrage according to law," he said.
Zhang told the meeting, "It is the central government's consistent and clear stance to support the HKSAR in developing a democratic system in line with the actual conditions of Hong Kong based on the regulations of the Hong Kong Basic Law."
The decision accords with the fundamental interests of Hong Kong compatriots, gives clear stipulations on many key factors in the universal suffrage system for the HKSAR Chief Executive, and charts the direction for the HKSAR to decide in detail how universal suffrage will be applied in the election, the top legislator said.
Zhang expressed hope that Hong Kong society can continue a rational and practical discussion on this matter and reach consensus within the framework of the Hong Kong Basic Law and the decision made by the NPC Standing Committee.
He said he hoped that with the joint efforts of the HKSAR government and Hong Kongers, Hong Kong could properly handle its constitutional development issues according to law and smoothly realize the goal of selecting a Chief Executive by universal suffrage in 2017.