Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in the Legislative Council today (April 15):
At the Question and Answer Session of this Council on March 26 this year, the Chief Executive (CE) remarked that according to the findings of a public opinion survey, people who were willing to accept the Decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on August 31 last year on issues such as the selection of CE of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by universal suffrage (NPCSC's Decision) outnumbered those who were unwilling to do so. Prior to this, CE also remarked on February 28 this year (and the authorities subsequently supplemented on March 18 in reply to my question) that according to the findings of a public opinion survey conducted by a professional agency commissioned by the Government, more than half of Hong Kong people were agreeable to the selection of CE by universal suffrage in 2017 to be implemented in accordance with NPCSC's Decision. On the other hand, the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey (CCPOS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong has been conducting tracking surveys on constitutional reform issues since September last year, and the findings of the five surveys already conducted as at last month showed that on the question of whether this Council should approve the package of selecting CE by universal suffrage in 2017 to be proposed by the Government in accordance with NPCSC's Decision (the proposed package), those respondents who considered that this Council should reject the package outnumbered those who considered that this Council should approve it. For example, according to the latest survey findings released on the 15th of last month, 46.9% of the respondents considered that this Council should reject the proposed package, while 40.2% considered that this Council should approve it. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the details of the public opinion survey referred to by CE in the aforesaid Question and Answer Session; whether the survey is for Government's internal reference only and its details are generally not made public;
(2) whether the authorities had provided CE with the findings of the aforesaid surveys conducted by CCPOS before CE made public the findings of the public opinion survey mentioned in (1); if the authorities had not done so, whether the authorities will review (i) if CE's repeated remarks on public opinions were too reckless, or would make people think that he was politically motivated to do so, (ii) if it was necessary for government officials to have a more comprehensive grasp of the findings of the public opinion surveys conducted in the community before making remarks of a similar nature, and (iii) if government officials should avoid making one-sided generalisations when releasing findings of public opinion surveys; and
(3) whether it has assessed if CE's past references on several occasions to the findings of certain public opinion surveys without disclosing the sources of such information will give people an impression that the SAR Government and CE are untruthful, disrespectful to public opinions or even manipulative of public opinions; if it has assessed, of the results; if not, the reasons for that?
In consultation with the Chief Executive's Office and the Central Policy Unit (CPU), our reply to the questions raised by Hon Fung is as follows.
In mentioning the information regarding opinion polls related to the implementation of universal suffrage for the Chief Executive (CE) election in 2017 at the CE's Question and Answer Session of the Legislative Council on March 26, the CE made reference to various opinion polls conducted and made public by external organisations, as well as opinion polls conducted by professional agencies commissioned by the CPU for the Government's internal reference. The Government is committed to implementing universal suffrage for the CE election in 2017, in accordance with the Basic Law and the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by Universal Suffrage and on the Method for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2016 adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on August 31, 2014, and will work hard to secure support from a two-thirds majority of all Members of the Legislative Council, so that five million eligible voters in Hong Kong can elect the next CE by universal suffrage through "one person, one vote" in 2017 as scheduled.
Ends/Wednesday, April 15, 2015