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LCQ3: Promoting the Basic Law

Following is a question by the Hon Ma Fung-kwok and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 17):


Regarding the promotion of and education on the Basic Law, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the amount of public money spent on the promotion and publicity of the Basic Law in each of the past six years; whether certain provisions of the Basic Law have been selected as the focal points in such promotional activities; if so, of the provisions selected;

(b) whether it has assessed changes in the understanding of the Basic Law among civil servants, employees of subvented organisations and members of the public respectively over the past six years; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) whether, in conducting consultations on policies involving provisions in the Basic Law, it has assessed the level of understanding of the relevant provisions among members of the public, and whether it has taken corresponding measures to ensure that they understand the contents of the provisions when discussing these policies?


Madam President,

(a) Over the past six years, the SAR Government allocated a total of HK$28.5 million for promoting the Basic Law. In 1998/1999 and 1999/2000, the SAR Government made a one-off non-recurrent allocation of $10 million for promoting the Basic Law.

In 2001/2002 and 2002/2003, a further non-recurrent allocation of $5.56 million was made.

From 2000/2001 to 2003/2004, the recurrent allocations of relevant bureaux and departments for promoting the Basic Law are as follows -

Year ($ million)
---- -----------
2000/2001 3.76
2001/2002 2.94
2002/2003 2.78
2003/2004 3.46

Since the Reunification, in overall terms we have made use of a variety of channels to promote the Basic Law, as well as its significance to the various systems of Hong Kong and local issues.

These promotional activities include producing TV and radio programmes, TV Announcements of Public Interest (API), teaching materials, brochures, and leaflets; organising seminars, training courses, competitions and roving exhibitions; and launching computer and on-line games.

The promotional activities and materials have covered the concept of "One Country, Two Systems", knowledge about the country, the relationship between the Central Authorities and the SAR, as well as the rights and obligations of HKSAR residents. For example, "An ABC Guide to the Basic Law" published by the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education gives an overview of the Basic Law.

As regards promotional activities which focus on specific issues in the Basic Law and related provisions, we may take the training activities organised by the Civil Service Training and Development Institute (CSTDI) as an example.

The CSTDI provides tailor-made training programmes for civil servants having regard to the operational needs of different departments or grades. For instance, the CSTDI has organised a seminar entitled "the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights" for newly recruited police officers. Where necessary, it will also organise seminars on specific topics in accordance with government's policy directions, such as seminars on the "Implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law", the "Basic Law and the Development of the Political Structure of the HKSAR" and the "Interpretation and Amendment of the Basic Law".

We have also produced TV APIs which focus on specific provisions of the Basic Law. These provisions include Articles 9, 10, 14, 23, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 106, 111, 112, 114, 118, 140, 149 and 155.

(b) In 2000 and 2002, the Constitutional Affairs Bureau commissioned the Census and Statistics Department to conduct surveys on the public understanding of the Basic Law. Respondents of the surveys included civil servants.

The percentage of members of the public aged 15 or above who claimed to have a good or some knowledge of the Basic Law increased from 25% in 2000 to 48% in 2002, representing almost a 100% rise. The percentage of members of the public who claimed to have heard of the Basic Law increased from 80% in 2000 to 90% in 2002.

The findings in 2000 and 2002 reveal that nearly 80% of civil servants claimed to have a good understanding of or some knowledge of the Basic Law. In the 2000 survey, 0.3% of civil servants stated that they had never heard of the Basic Law; whereas in 2002, not one civil servant claimed to have never heard of the Basic Law.

The SAR Government has not made any specific assessment on the level of understanding of the Basic Law among employees of subvented organisations. However, generally speaking, the level of understanding of the Basic Law among the Hong Kong community has increased.

(c) The Basic Law is closely related to the formulation and implementation of policies by the Government. In implementing any policy, the Government will ensure that the Basic Law is strictly adhered to and will introduce to the public the relationship between the relevant policies and the Basic Law, as necessary.

Ends/Wednesday, March 17, 2004