Beijing issued a statement in which it said Hong Kong would not be able to hold direct elections for its chief executive in 2007 or for all of its legislators the following year. The decision, handed down by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, stipulated that while Hong Kong will be allowed to make changes in its electoral process, it will only be allowed to do so ï¿½in the principle of gradual and orderly progressï¿½, according to Chinese media reports citing the committee. Current Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa said that full democracy for the territory is still a goal as spelled out by the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, but he provided no timeframe for implementation.
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