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Government reiterates its commitment in upholding HK's core values

In response to the Letter to Hong Kong by the Honourable Yeung Sum broadcast on RTHK Radio 3 today (June 13), a HKSAR Government spokesman reiterated its firm commitment in preserving Hong Kong as a free, open and tolerant society, and that the Government would spare no efforts in upholding the core values of Hong Kong.

The Government would not allow these core values to be undermined by any individual or organisation, irrespective of their background.

"The freedom of speech is protected by the Basic Law. Colleagues of the Government will continue to take part in public discussion programmes organised by the media and to subject the Administration to the scrutiny of the media and the Legislative Council (LegCo). The government's commitment to be held accountable to the public has always upheld."

Concerning views expressed on the HKSAR's constitutional development, the spokesman said, "In a society as diversified as Hong Kong, where people have such pluralistic views, to facilitate the emergence of an option that would receive broad-based support within the community, one would have to accommodate one another's views.

"There would have to be a process of compromise. Different parties would have to be engaged in a dialogue. The Constitutional Development Task Force welcomes the fact that representatives of different parties, including those representing the democrats, took part in the two seminars organised in May and June. We hope that these discussions will facilitate the building of a consensus in future," he said.

He called upon different sectors of the community to make use of the existing channels to make known their views to the Constitutional Development Task Force.

He said, "We respect the views of the people of Hong Kong, and we want to bring the electoral systems in Hong Kong closer to the ultimate aim of universal suffrage, which is enshrined in the Basic Law."

The spokesman added, "The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs has already pointed out in the Legislative Council that the vast majority of Hong Kong people are patriotic, support the re-unification with the Mainland and identify with development of the country; any proposal relating to the independence of Hong Kong would not receive the support of the community."

Concerning the upcoming LegCo elections, he said the Government was committed to keeping the LegCo elections free, open and honest. The Electoral Affairs Commission would work closely with the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Police in ensuring that the elections were free from illegal or corrupt practices. Any person who felt that he was placed under duress with regard to electoral matters should report to the ICAC immediately. The Authorities concerned would enforce the law vigilantly.

Ends/Sunday, June 13, 2004