Following is a question by the Hon Albert Ho and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in the Legislative Council today (July 4):
Before the July 1 march this year, the organiser has anticipated that quite a number of members of the public will participate in the march as they are of the view that the Chief Executive (CE) of the new term has not undertaken that the CE Election in 2017 will adopt a low nomination threshold and that all the functional constituency (FC) seats in the Legislative Council (LegCo) will be abolished as soon as possible; and they are also furious over the death of mainland democracy activist Mr Li Wangyang, and have no confidence in the Government of the new term even before the new-term CE takes office because of the integrity issue arising from unauthorised building works being discovered in his residence. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether it will release as soon as possible the Green Paper on Constitutional Development to consult the public on the methods for forming LegCo in 2016 and selecting CE in 2017 and initiate the five-step mechanism on constitutional development, so as to respond to the aspirations of the members of the public participating in the march that CE and all LegCo Members should be elected by universal suffrage, and whether it will undertake that a high nomination threshold for screening potential candidates will not be set for the CE Election in 2017 and that all LegCo FC seats will be abolished as soon as possible; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(b) whether the Government of the new term will respond to and follow up the public concern about the Li Wangyang incident; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(c) whether it will assess and respond to the other aspirations of the members of the public participating in the march, as so to salvage public confidence in the Government; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
On behalf of the Administration, I give the following consolidated reply to the three parts of the question raised by Hon Albert Ho:
(a) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) fully understands the public's aspirations for universal suffrage. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress adopted a decision (the NPCSC's decision) in December 2007, setting out the timetable for implementing universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Universal suffrage may be implemented for the Chief Executive (CE) in 2017, and following that, all Members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) may be returned by universal suffrage in 2020. The NPCSC's decision is solemn and with legal effect.
Regarding the issue of implementing universal suffrage for the CE in 2017, the NPCSC's decision in December 2007 also made it clear that when universal suffrage for the CE is implemented in 2017, the nominating committee may be formed with reference to the current provisions regarding the Election Committee in Annex I to the Basic Law. The nominating committee shall in accordance with democratic procedures nominate a certain number of candidates for the office of the CE, who is to be elected through universal suffrage by all registered electors of the HKSAR.
As for the LegCo election to be held in 2016, we will, after extensive consultation, strive to put forth a package which will take forward our democratic development, so as to pave the way for implementing universal suffrage for the LegCo in 2020.
The HKSAR Government will initiate the process to conduct extensive consultation with various sectors of the community and the public on the specific arrangements for implementing universal suffrage for the CE in 2017 and the electoral method for the LegCo in 2016 in due course.
(b) The Administration notes that people from various sectors of the community have expressed concerns about the incident concerning Mr Li Wang-yang in different ways recently.
The former CE shared his views on the incident at the Question and Answer Session in the LegCo held on June 14 and made it clear that he had already conveyed the views of the people of Hong Kong to the Central Authorities. Some Hong Kong Deputies to the National People's Congress also indicated that they had conveyed the relevant views to the Central Authorities.
The current-term CE has also indicated that he would convey to the Central Authorities any issues relating to our country which were of concern to the people of Hong Kong. He will also report the latest situation in Hong Kong, including issues of public concern and the views of the public, when he meets with the state leaders.
(c) The HKSAR Government has always respected and safeguarded people's rights to take part in processions and their freedom of expression and would listen humbly to the views expressed by the people through different channels and ways. The HKSAR Government will continue to uphold the core values of Hong Kong and protect the freedom and rights enjoyed by Hong Kong people under the Basic Law.
The CE and his team will take the expectations and the views of various sectors of the community seriously and make an active response, with a view to developing our economy, improving people's livelihood, promoting democracy, and fostering a harmonious society.
Ends/Wednesday, July 4, 2012