BEIJING, June 30 -- The central government respects the rights of Hong Kong citizens to voice opinions, but any act against the region's Basic Law and decisions of the top legislature can only obstruct universal suffrage, China's central authorities have said.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council on Monday released a statement rebuking a "civil referendum" held between June 20 and 29 in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
According to the statement, the so-called "referendum" was not in line with the HKSAR's Basic Law and the election procedures set down by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
"The stance of the central government has been consistent and clear on the development of Hong Kong's political governance, which is that we resolutely support Hong Kong to develop democracy in incremental steps in accordance with the region's Basic Law," it said.
The statement stressed that universal suffrage must be in line with the Basic Law and the decisions made by the top legislature, and election methods must be in line with Hong Kong's real situations.
It noted that any form of "referendum" held in the region is "illegal and invalid" since it has no constitutional and legal basis.
"Our standpoint is firm that the position of chief executive must be shouldered by one who loves both the country and Hong Kong," it said, adding that the so-called "referendum" would not disturb the central government's sincerity and determination in lawfully pushing forward the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017.
According to the office, the central government fully respects and understands Hong Kong people's wish for universal suffrage, and such wish "can only be realized through lawful, rational and down-to-earth discussions among various sides."
"Any activity in violation of the Basic Law and related decisions of the NPC Standing Committee can only obstruct universal suffrage," it said.
The office urged the people of Hong Kong to see clearly the nature of those planning and organizing the "referendum," which is to "pursue self-interests through breaching the rule of law, disturbing Hong Kong's social order and holding back the progress of universal suffrage."
It called on Hong Kong citizens to voluntarily resist any activity that harms the region's prosperity, stability and its citizens' long-term interests.