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Transcript of SCA's standup briefing after attending Legco meeting

Following is a transcript of the standup briefing by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after attending the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting this afternoon (December 7):

Reporter: You said in your speech somewhere to the effect that the democrats will have some explanations to do if this package was voted down. What prompted you to say that?

SCA: So far as the Government is concerned, the package of proposals which we have put forward in the Fifth Report concerning amendments to the electoral systems in 2007 and 2008 represents a step forward in injecting democratic elements into our electoral systems. This is a step forward moving Hong Kong towards universal suffrage. It will also build a broader foundation for Hong Kong to agree on a timetable and a road map in achieving universal suffrage. There is no contradiction whatsoever between the proposals which we have put forth for 2007/08 and arriving at a consensus on a timetable and a road map for achieving universal suffrage. Therefore, I believe that the members of the pan-democratic camp will have some explanations to do if they were eventually to reject this package that we have put forth.

Reporter: What will they have to explain?

SCA: They will have to explain why this particular package should be rejected, and why rejecting this package will lead us closer to achieving universal suffrage timetable and road map.

Reporter: Are you trying to put the burden on them and getting it off you?

SCA: No, we have a responsibility as the HKSAR Government to put forth proposals, and they have the responsibility under the Basic Law to approve or not to approve proposals which we put forth. Whichever way we go or whichever way they go, we both have to explain to the public that we have done our best to do so.

Reporter: If this package is rejected, what's next?

SCA: We will continue to have our discussions in the Commission on Strategic Development on designing a road map for achieving universal suffrage, and we believe that once we have got the electoral methods for implementing universal suffrage for returning the Chief Executive and the LegCo, the question of a timetable will follow naturally.

Reporter: (Do you think the people who really want democracy, who took part in the march will be really so patient?)

SCA: I believe HK people are very realistic and are very reasonable. So far as the Hong Kong community is concerned, I hope that they understand that the HKSAR Government has already taken positive steps forward to start the ball rolling on discussion regarding the implementation of universal suffrage through achieving consensus on a road map and timetable.

Reporter: Will you be meeting Lien Chan while he is here?

SCA: Mr Lien Chan is arriving today. He is in Hong Kong as the guest of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I believe that there will be one or two occasions on which Government officials will be present. We shall see.

Reporter: Any idea what you will be talking about?

SCA: We will take the opportunity to introduce to him how Hong Kong is faring under "One Country, Two Systems"; how our economy is developing; and how the ties between Taiwan and Hong Kong will strengthen relations across the Taiwan Straits.

Reporter: Will you talk about the KMT's performance in the last election?

SCA: I believe that will be a matter of public interest and I am sure that it will come up in our conversations.

Reporter: Mr Lam, do you think that the SAR administration should contact the Central Government and submit a report as to what Legislator Yeung Sum said after the march?

SCA: We have all along put forth and reported to the Central People's Government all the public views that we have received on the question of universal suffrage and constitutional development. So far as we are concerned, the package of proposals which we have put forth for 2007/08 has been based on the public views which we have received in the last one and a half years. We will continue to reflect to the Central Authorities all the views and aspirations which we receive in Hong Kong, whether they concern constitutional development, or whether these views concern early implementation of universal suffrage.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, December 7, 2005