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Transcript of SCA's stand-up briefing after radio programme

Following is the transcript (English portion) of a stand-up briefing by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after attending a radio programme this morning (April 17):

Reporter: An academic from the Mainland talked about the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress may add some additional or supplementary conditions or principles towards the CE's Report. What's your view over this?

SCA: I have taken note of the views expressed by this Mainland legal expert. So far as the HKSAR Government is concerned, the Chief Executive has submitted his report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. I believe the Standing Committee will consider this report seriously and carefully. I also believe that under the Constitution (of the People's Republic of China), it is for the National People's Congress to determine the systems to be practised in the HKSAR. The Standing Committee will make a decision on the Chief Executive's Report. We will have to follow this decision in taking forward the review of Hong Kong's constitutional development.

Reporter: What about the nine principles stated in the Second Report of the (Constitutional Development) Task Force. Some people said that they're barriers rather than principles. What's your reaction?

SCA: These nine views that we have summarised in our second report basically represent the views which we have collated in the last three months and the research which we, as Constitutional Development Task Force, have undertaken on matters relating to principles of constitutional development. We believe that these nine points are relevant in considering the way forward for reforms to the two electoral systems for the Chief Executive and for the Legislative Council. But in future, any proposed amendment can only be taken forward with the support of a two-thirds majority of all the Members of the Legislative Council, the consent of the Chief Executive and approval or consent by the National People's Congress. So we must follow and we must comply with the provisions and the procedures in the Basic Law. The Task Force has not added anything to the provisions of the Basic Law itself. All we are saying is that these nine points which we have summarised are relevant in the sense that we believe it will be easier to achieve consensus in future if any proposed amendment, any proposed package, is close enough to these nine aspects.

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

Ends/Saturday, April 17, 2004