Following is the transcript (English portion) of the remarks of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in response to media questions after attending a radio programme this (December 15) morning:
Reporter: The Deputy Director of the Liaison Office here, Li Gang, today said that he had not heard of any news from the NPCSC that they would rule out the possibility of double universal suffrage in 2012. What is your view towards that? Do you think that there is still hope for double universal suffrage in 2012?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: The Chief Executive in his report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has fully reflected the aspirations and expectations of the people of Hong Kong for early implementation of universal suffrage by 2012. The Chief Executive has also stated in his report that this expectation for universal suffrage to be implemented by 2012 should be respected and should be carefully considered. So, in the context of the Chief Executive's report to Beijing, we have asked the Standing Committee to confirm whether the electoral methods for returning the Chief Executive by 2012 and for forming the Legislative Council by 2012 should be amended. We now await the confirmation by the Standing Committee for inclusion of this report in their agenda for consideration and also the decision of the Standing Committee after consideration of the Chief Executive's report.
Reporter: Are there still hopes for double universal suffrage in 2012?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: We have fully reflected the views of Hong Kong people for early implementation of universal suffrage. We have also asked the Standing Committee for confirmation as to whether the electoral methods for returning the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council in 2012 could be amended. We await that decision and we will take further action on the basis of that decision.
Reporter: How can you maintain the transparency for the recruitment of the Under-Secretaries as the recruitment process is not going to be open?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: The recruitment process will be placed under the overview of an Appointment Committee chaired by the Chief Executive, the three Secretaries of Departments and the respective Government Secretaries responsible for the relevant policy portfolios. We have an open mind. Different personalities with political party backgrounds or other backgrounds, we would welcome them to come forth and express their interests in joining the Government to fill these positions. We will have opportunities to have interviews with these people (who are selected for consideration) and to understand what their backgrounds are and what their relevant experience is. So far as we are concerned, we have to be vigilant and careful in choosing these candidates because we realise that the Under-Secretaries and the Political Assistants will be conducting important work on behalf of the Government in serving the people of Hong Kong.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)
Ends/Saturday, December 15, 2007