In response to the processions and public meetings today (January 1), a Government spokesman said that the HKSAR Government fully respected the public's right to take part in processions and to express their views, and appreciated the different aspirations expressed in the processions.
"While the HKSAR Government would surely continue to uphold the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people, it is also important that participants of processions express their views in a peaceful manner and in observance of the law and public order.??We regret that some participants in today's processions have acted without regard to the order of the processions and public safety," the spokesman said.
"The HKSAR Government will also continue to roll forward Hong Kong's democratic development.??We understand the aspirations for universal suffrage of the community.??In fact, we attained the timetable for universal suffrage in 2007.??The HKSAR Government has put forth, in November last year, the directions which may be considered regarding the methods for selecting the Chief Executive (CE) and the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2012: under the requirement of the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) that the half-and-half ratio between members returned by functional constituencies (FCs) and members returned by geographical constituencies (GCs) through direct elections shall remain unchanged, we have abided by the principle of not creating new "traditional" FCs. Increasing the number of seats to be returned through election among elected District Council members can enhance the democratic elements of the LegCo," said the spokesman.
"We also suggest that consideration may be given to having all District Council seats in the Election Committee and the LegCo elected from among elected District Council members in 2012.??By then, close to 60 per cent of the seats in the LegCo will be returned by GCs through direct or indirect elections."
The spokesman said that, since the launch of the public consultation, officials of the HKSAR Government had attended LegCo and District Council meetings and met with different organisations to listen to the views of Legislative and District Councillors, as well as different personalities direct.
"The directions put forth in the consultation document do not represent the final view taken by the HKSAR Government.??We will continue to listen to the views of the public and various sectors of the community, in the hope that we can formulate a proposed package for the 2012 elections which is acceptable to different parties.
"However, discussions of the two electoral methods for 2012 must be based on the decision made by the NPCSC in December 2007.??The election options to be considered must be legal, reasonable and practicable."
The spokesman said that the NPCSC decision had made clear that universal suffrage would not be implemented in 2012.??Hence, any request for dual universal suffrage in 2012 would not comply with the NPCSC decision.??As regards the HKSAR Government putting forth the electoral models for universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020, he said that this was also beyond what the current-term HKSAR Government had been authorised to deal with.
He said that the task of the current-term HKSAR Government was to determine the two electoral methods for 2012 by injecting new democratic elements into the electoral arrangements, so as to pave the way for implementing universal suffrage for the CE and the LegCo in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
"With the next CE and LegCo elections approaching, we hope that the community can re-focus the discussion on how the two electoral methods for 2012 should be further democratised.??It would not be conducive to implementing universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020 if we were to ignore the issue of how to change the 2012 electoral arrangements now," he said.
"Regarding the issue of how the FCs should be dealt with, we have already made it clear that when universal suffrage for the LegCo is implemented in future, the electoral model must comply with the principles of universality and equality, but that there is no need to make a decision at this stage.??The community should continue the discussion on how the LegCo elections in 2012 and 2016 should be democratised step by step, so as to attain universal suffrage that can comply with the principles of universality and equality in 2020."
"Now that the universal suffrage timetable has been set, we should strive to make democratic progress for the 2012 elections, and should not allow another stalemate in constitutional development.??By so doing, we can create a new environment for Hong Kong's constitutional development, and this will be conducive to a steady transition of Hong Kong's electoral system to universal suffrage."
On the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) project, the Government spokesman said by tapping Hong Kong into the national high-speed railway network, the XRL project is conducive to Hong Kong's competitiveness and long-term development. The project is the result of in-depth studies, consultation and discussions by the Administration in conjunction with the Legislative Council, professionals and different sectors of the community.??The enormous social and economic benefits the project will bring to Hong Kong are well recognised.??The community also supports an early implementation of the project.
The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council is examining the application for funding for the project. The Government will continue to explain the details of the project with a view to obtaining the funding approval as early as possible.
The departments concerned will maintain close communication with affected residents.
Ends/Friday, January 1, 2010