The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, attended RTHK's City Forum at the Victoria Park today (November 29). Following is the transcript of his answers to questions posed by the media (English portion) after the Forum:
Reporter: Mr Lam, you have mentioned that because Hong Kong is not an independent jurisdiction, that is why Hong Kong people cannot decide by themselves when is the suitable time for universal suffrage. Do you mean that if there is a proposal supported by the majority of Hong Kong people, the Hong Kong Government will not fight for it if you think it will not be approved by Beijing?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: What I would say is that according to the constitutional arrangements under the Basic Law, Hong Kong has some say in our constitutional arrangements on electoral systems. According to the Basic Law, it is for the Hong Kong Government to propose legislation to our Legislative Council and we need to secure two-thirds majority in the legislature. Thereafter, the Chief Executive, after he has given his consent, can put these proposals to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) for endorsement. Hong Kong is not an independent jurisdiction. Our constitution, the Basic Law, is enacted by Beijing. It is necessary for our final proposals to be endorsed by the NPCSC.
Reporter: How do you view the need to abolish functional constituencies?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Currently there are different proposals regarding the implementation of universal suffrage for the Legislative Council in 2020. There are political parties which suggest that we adopt a "one person, one vote" system, and that would entail the abolition of all functional constituencies in 2020. There are other organisations which put forth suggestions to adopt a "one person, two votes" system whereby registered voters can vote in geographical constituencies and also in functional constituencies. Under such a proposal, over three million registered voters would have a vote in functional constituencies. But even for this formula, there are pan-democratic parties which dispute that it is not sufficiently democratic in that the nomination right would be reserved for functional constituencies. The future of functional constituencies is a matter which we need to debate in the years ahead. What we need to do is to secure progress for 2012, 2016 and 2020 Legislative Council formations. It is necessary for us to gain progress in all of these terms of the legislature.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Sunday, November 29, 2009
SCMA attends RTHK's City Forum
Photo shows the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Stephen Lam (centre), attending the RTHK's City Forum at the Victoria Park today (November 29).