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Transcript of SCA's briefing

Following is a transcript of a stand-up briefing which was given by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after he had met with members of the Hong Kong Democratic Development Network this (October 13) afternoon (English portion):

SCA: I welcome the opportunity this afternoon to have a meeting with the Democratic Development Network, Pastor Chu and his friends. It was a very useful meeting. The Network gave us a series of proposals, including a timetable, which in their view, they believe, would enable us to use fully the next three years plus in order to garner and gather views from the public and to summarise these views in the form of proposals to be put forth to the public for consultation. They also highlighted the importance on the part of the Government to communicate with different constituencies in the community. On my part, I also emphasized to them that it was important for the Democratic Development Network also to communicate with other sectors in the community, for example, political parties, business sectors, and professional bodies. This is important because according to the relevant annex of the Basic Law, if we are going to change the electoral system beyond 2007, we need two-thirds majority in the Legislative Council (LegCo) and, therefore, it is necessary for all these representatives in the LegCo to be able to point to consensus both within the Council and outside the Council. There are certain academics who came to the meeting today, who suggested that the Government should perhaps consider a two-stage process for the public consultation exercise. For the first stage, the Government should have an open mind, and the Government should not put forth any particular set of proposals for constitutional reforms on our part. At this stage, according to the academics, it would be for the community to put forth different sets of proposals. And then, for the next stage, we should summarise the proposals received and put forth a series of proposals for the community to consider. In the weeks ahead, I would consider very carefully all these views which they put forth, before the Government makes a decision on the timetable for conducting the consultation on constitutional reforms.

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

Ends/Monday, October 13, 2003