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Opening remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at a media session at the Government House

Posted in: Press Releases

October 16, 2014

The Government will continue its best efforts in three areas of work in relation to constitutional development in the future.

First, we will restore as soon as possible social order in Hong Kong, including traffic. Over the past few days, the Police have effectively cleared various roads, the effect of which can be seen.

Second, we will continue to take forward our constitutional development. This is because the common wish of the community is to elect the Chief Executive by universal suffrage in 2017 in accordance with the provisions in the Basic Law and the Decisions of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, has previously stated that the Government will begin the second stage consultation on constitutional development in the fourth quarter of this year.

The third area of work is to continue our dialogue with various sectors of the community. We will continue to do so to forge a consensus. Of course the parties to these dialogues include representatives of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (‘HKFS’). Although there have been twists and turns in arranging dialogue with the HKFS over the past two weeks, we are still making efforts to resume communication with them.

We have all along stated clearly that although the dialogue between the two parties was temporarily suspended earlier, we have been working proactively to find a suitable opportunity to resume the dialogue. We have tried to contact the HKFS through go-betweens in the past few days, including this morning. We have expressed our wish to meet with them officially as soon as possible. We hope that the HKFS would respond positively to the resumption of dialogue. An early meeting between the two parties is in line with expectations of the community. We therefore hope that the meeting would be held by the middle of next week soonest.

We have earlier held three preparatory meetings with HKFS  representatives. Both sides have already agreed on certain principles, though there are details to follow up and confirm, such as the choice of the venue and moderator.

We inspected some sites with HKFS members last week and have identified a possible venue. As for the moderator, we suggest engaging a Vice-chancellor of a university to host the dialogue in an objective and impartial manner. We understand that a number of vice-chancellors want very much and are willing to assist. We will continue to discuss with the HKFS the specific candidate and other detailed arrangements.

I and the HKSAR Government, many students and the community all hope very much that constitutional development in Hong Kong can take a big step forward. I sincerely hope that all of us could continue to have discussions on constitutional development in a rational, peaceful and pragmatic manner on the basis of the Basic Law and the Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and strive to ¬†implement universal suffrage in 2017 so that five million eligible voters - not just 1,200 members of the Election Committee - can elect the next Chief Executive by ¬†‘one person, one vote’.¬†

All of us and the HKSAR Government know full well that constitutional development is an extremely controversial issue. The reform of such a large electoral system or the electoral methods in any society is very controversial. A one-off dialogue can hardly resolve all issues on constitutional development or narrow differences. This is why we agreed to the HKFS’s proposal earlier to have several rounds of dialogue. But I truly believe that the Task Force on Constitutional Development’s dialogue and continued dialogue with the HKFS and others in the community as soon as possible is a positive step forward.

Background of Constitutional Development in Hong Kong

Constitutional Development in Hong Kong FAQ

Chinese version on next page.

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