The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, spoke to the media after attending a radio programme this morning (November 21). Following is the transcript (English portion) of his answer to a media question:
Reporter: The Government likes to describe Hong Kong as Asia's World City, yet 20 years after the Handover there is still no guarantee of full democracy that was being promised. Is Hong Kong being incapable of organising it after two decades, or is Beijing putting in roadblocks to slow us down. Whose choice is it?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs : It's actually very clear how Hong Kong can attain universal suffrage. The decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in December 2007 makes it abundantly clear that by 2017 Hong Kong can attain universal suffrage for returning the Chief Executive, and by 2020 we can attain universal suffrage for returning all Members of the Legislative Council. It's very important now that we should take a step forward in 2012 so as to pave the way for universal suffrage in subsequent years.
There are political parties and individual members of the legislature who have an inclination to resign and to go for by-election. I would also like to take this opportunity to emphasise that the views of Hong Kong people for early introduction of universal suffrage have already been reflected to Beijing back in 2007, and that decision taken by the Standing Committee has already taken into account these views. Also, the Legislative Councillors have a constitutional responsibility to deal with the package of reforms for 2012. We would respect the decision to be taken by any individual political parties or legislators. As far as the Hong Kong Government is concerned, we will comply with the law and organise by-elections, if necessary, in the months ahead. This will involve, we believe, a budget of something like HK$150 million.
Thanks very much.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Saturday, November 21, 2009