BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese central government fully understands and supports the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government's decision to postpone the Legislative Council (LegCo) election in the view of severe COVID-19 epidemic situation, a statement said Friday.
The statement issued by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said the postponement shows the great sense of responsibility towards Hong Kong residents' lives and health, saying that it is a "very necessary" move which is reasonable and legitimate.
Hong Kong is facing an extremely severe epidemic control situation since the outbreak of a new wave of COVID-19 in early July, the statement said, adding that it is now Hong Kong's most important and pressing task to take strict and forceful measures to contain the spread as soon as possible.
To prevent the risk of the spread, the HKSAR Chief Executive in Council acted in accordance with Hong Kong's Emergency Regulations Ordinance to postpone the LegCo election for a year.
This is an important measure to protect the lives and health of Hong Kong residents and ensure a just and fair election. It also accords with the common practice of many other places around the world, the statement said, adding that the decision will neither affect the normal operation of the body of power of the HKSAR nor harm the democratic rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, will at the earliest possible date decide on the vacancy of the LegCo incurred due to the postponement, it added.
"Hong Kong has the strong backing of the great motherland to overcome the epidemic and all sorts of risks," the statement said, adding that the central government has decided, at the request of the HKSAR government, to send testing personnel to Hong Kong to help with large-scale nucleic acid tests and assist Hong Kong in building temporary quarantine and treatment centers.
The statement expressed the hope that the Hong Kong society under the leadership of the HKSAR government will focus on epidemic control and stay united to win the anti-epidemic battle and create favorable conditions for economic recovery and improvement of people's well-being.