Following is the transcript of the reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, to a question from the media after attending a public function this afternoon (December 6):
Reporter: (on whether it is possible for the Government to have dialogue with the students)
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I personally would not think that it is the right time to have such a dialogue given the circumstance is as such that it is for the overall and long-term benefit of the whole society that the "Occupy Movement" should end peacefully in the near future. So any dialogue that may procrastinate such a peaceful ending of the "Occupy Movement" would only be counter-productive.
Secondly, I think it is also a very difficult decision by the Government not to enter into such a dialogue because we should not encourage, or we should not accept, certain sectors of the community to use illegal means, to use means that would force the Government to make any concessions or to have hunger strike that would harm their own bodily health to put forward their requests. If the Government would concede to politics or political needs at the moment but sacrifice long-term interests of the overall community, I think the Government is only right to make a very difficult decision and that is not to entertain such a request at this moment in time.
But, as I explained to the media just now, when the "Occupy Movement" would end in the near future, the Government would spare no efforts and we would in the near future launch the second round of public consultation on universal suffrage for selecting the Chief Executive in 2017. And, that consultation would be open to all sectors of the community including the
student bodies. So, I believe that will be the only right thing to do.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Saturday, December 6, 2014