§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has sought any304W assurances from the Government of the People's Republic of China that the death penalty will not be carried out after 1 July 1997 on any fugitive returned to Hong Kong prior to 30 June 1997; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The Sino-British joint declaration and the draft Basic Law both make clear that the legal and judicial systems in the future Hong Kong special administrative region will be separate from those of the People's Republic of China; and that the laws currently in force in Hong Kong will remain basically unchanged, save for any that contravene the Basic Law. Under Hong Kong's laws the commutation of a death sentence is irrevocable. This applies to all death sentences passed in Hong Kong prior to 1997, but commuted by the Governor of Hong Kong. After 1997, these matters will fall within the high degree of autonomy to be enjoyed by the Hong Kong special administrative region government under the joint declaration and the Basic Law.