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Transcript of SCA's briefing after Legco's motion debate

The following is the transcript of a briefing by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after a motion debate at the Legislative Council tonight (February 25)(English only):

Reporter: Audrey Eu raised the question about getting the whole discussion back on the right track. What is your response to that?

SCA: It is precisely for that purpose that we want to get the discussion about constitutional development on the right track that we have invited the community to discuss issues of principle relating to constitutional development in the Basic Law and issues of legislative process as embodied in the Basic Law. It is very necessary for us to put on a proper foundation, the legal and constitutional provisions that we have in the Basic Law on constitutional development, so that can move ahead as we journey down this path of constitutional development.

Reporter: Legislators said that .........the substantive issues are looking at alternative ways of trying to do things?

SCA: It is very essential for Hong Kong to have a proper and full understanding of the principles which back up constitutional development in the Basic Law, and the issues of legislative process. Only on that basis can we move ahead to deal with other issues relating to constitutional development.

Reporter: Also the question raised by Margaret Ng whether the Task Force fully and accurately reflected people's views in Beijing including a ... in any fears that Beijing officials may have raised about Hong Kong people's feelings?

SCA: We have fully reflected the views which we have gathered in Hong Kong among the different groups that we met in Hong Kong. We put to Beijing the written submissions that we received and we also reflected to Beijing the opinion polls conducted in Hong Kong by different organisations. The results of these opinion polls we have also put across to the relevant departments of the Central Authorities.

Reporter: What concerns me is the Government view, how you see things here?

SCA: At this stage, it is important that we reflect to Beijing fully the views that we have gathered in Hong Kong and also explained fully to Hong Kong community the concerns of the Central Authorities. On the point which you raised earlier about the sentiments of Hong Kong people, about reunification of the country, we have also reflected fully to the authorities in Beijing, and actually the relevant departments in Beijing understand fully, that the vast majority of Hong Kong people support reunification of the country, support Hong Kong's return to the motherland, and support the implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" according to the Basic Law in Hong Kong.

Reporter: You were also asked a very important question in line with what you're talking about which is does loving China means having to love the party?

SCA: If you wish to gain a proper understanding of this issue, I think we have to go back to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. Patriotism is a totality concept. The party is responsible for leading the country according to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. The Central Authorities, in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law, have established the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region so that in Hong Kong, according to "One Country, Two Systems", we can implement "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" and exercise a high degree of autonomy.

Those who wish to take part in the running of Hong Kong public affairs should respect this constitutional order and arrangement.

Reporter: That means you have to accept the party if you pledge to support the country and the Constitution?

SCA: The vast majority of Hong Kong people are patriots. I am sure they support the development of the country according to the Chinese Constitution.

Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2004