In response to media enquiries on the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) 2013 Annual Report, a Government spokesman today (November 21) said:
"It is the common aspiration of the Central People's Government, the Government of the HKSAR, and the people of Hong Kong to implement successfully the universal suffrage of the Chief Executive (CE) in 2017. The current term HKSAR Government is committed to attaining universal suffrage for the selection of the CE in 2017, strictly in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant Interpretations and Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. We will launch public consultation for the methods for selecting the CE in 2017 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2016 in December this year.
"We cannot agree with the USCC's conclusion that the prospects for universal suffrage by 2017 are dimming. In any event, Hong Kong's constitutional development according to the Basic Law is an internal affair of the HKSAR. We hope that foreign governments and legislatures will respect this principle.
"The Government of the HKSAR is also fully committed to protecting the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and maintaining an environment in which a free and active press can operate under minimum regulation.
"The freedom and right of procession and peaceful assembly are enshrined in the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance. The Police endeavour to facilitate all lawful and peaceful public meetings and processions on one hand and, on the other hand, reduce the impact of such meetings and processions on other members of the public and to ensure public order and public safety. The Police always handle all public order events in a fair, just and impartial manner in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong."
Ends/Thursday, November 21, 2013