Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, at a media session before attending the Legislative Council meeting this afternoon (June 3):
Reporter: How useful would these talks or another round of meetings be, given that (HKSAR Basic Law Committee) Chairman Li Fei already said that beyond 2017 you will also have to follow the August 31 decision for future Chief Executive elections? There is just not going to be any changes to the stance.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Just like in many other parliaments or in any other government, for a very important and controversial proposal or resolution or government bill that would have to pass the parliament, congress or, in our case, the Legislative Council, I think the government of the day around the world would spare no effort to lobby for all members' support even though the government position is quite clear. In this case, just like in the past, we would try to lobby for support till the very end.
I am sure that dialogue itself is meaningful, and no one should pre-empt or predict any results too prematurely. I think if there is still sincerity and determination to take constitutional development forward, all stakeholders including Government and members (Legislative Council members) alike should treasure and cherish every opportunity to try to narrow the differences.
Reporter: Do you think that Mr Li's comment basically is a slap in the face on Hong Kong officials? He said that beyond 2017 it would also have to go with the August 31 decision. Doesn't that make everything you or Mrs Carrie Lam said before futile and it is a reverse of what you said?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I think the Chief Executive has already clarified what Mr Li had said on Sunday (May 31). According to our understanding, what Mr Li had said is consistent with what he has been talking about. For example, if you look at what Mr Li had publicly spoken on September 1 last year at the open forum, he actually stated quite categorically that no electoral system would remain unchanged forever and that would be the same for our electoral system in Hong Kong. He has repeatedly mentioned this message here and there all along. So, what he said on Sunday, I think, is just a matter of communication. I am sure what the Chief Executive had clarified yesterday would be the correct understanding of what Article 7 of Annex I to the Basic Law is intended to be.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Wednesday, June 3, 2015