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Press Releases

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Response to United States report on human rights

     In response to media enquiries, a Government spokesman today (June 26) made the following response to the comments contained in the United States Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2014 relating to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR):

Constitutional development

     To attain the ultimate aim of selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage as stipulated in Article 45 of the Basic Law, after conducting two rounds of extensive public consultations which lasted for a total of seven months, the HKSAR Government presented to the Legislative Council (LegCo) a package of proposals for the method for selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. These proposals are in accordance with the relevant constitutional and legal regime, and are also reasonable and rational. The motion in respect of the said package of proposals had to be endorsed by a two-thirds majority of all the Members of LegCo. Unfortunately, the motion was vetoed at the LegCo meeting on June 18, 2015, as a result of 28 Members (i.e. more than one-third of all the Members) casting their votes against the motion. We reiterate that constitutional development is entirely an internal affair of our Country, including the HKSAR. Foreign governments should respect this principle and should not interfere in any manner.

District Council appointed seats

     In May 2013, the District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2013 was passed by the LegCo, abolishing the system of appointing members to the District Councils (DCs) and hence all appointed DC seats with effect from the commencement of the fifth-term DCs on January 1, 2016.

Freedom of the press and speech

     The Government attaches great importance to Hong Kong's freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are enshrined in the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance. These are major elements in sustaining Hong Kong's status as an international metropolis and continuous development. The Government will continue to strive to safeguard these core values.

Freedom of assembly and procession

     Hong Kong residents enjoy the rights of meeting, procession and demonstration according to the Basic Law and other relevant laws. In exercising their freedom of expression, participants of public meetings or processions should observe the applicable law of the HKSAR, and conduct such activities in a peaceful and orderly manner without affecting public order. The policy of the Police is to endeavour to strike a balance between facilitating all lawful and peaceful public meetings and processions on the one hand, and, on the other hand, reducing the impact of such events on members of the public and road users, as well as ensuring public order and public safety. The Police do not tolerate any unlawful or violent acts and will definitely take resolute enforcement actions.

     The duty of the Police as a professional law enforcement agency is to maintain law and order. The Police deal with all unlawful acts in an impartial manner. Only when there are suspected unlawful acts will arrests be made in accordance with the law. All prosecutions against persons arrested in relation to public order events are appropriately and independently handled according to the established guidelines. Under Article 63 of the Basic Law, all criminal prosecutions are handled by the Department of Justice, free from any interference. The political stance of the arrestees will not be taken into account in considering whether prosecution should be initiated.

Non-Chinese speaking students

     In 2014, the Government announced a series of measures to step up support for ethnic minorities, including enhanced support for non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students in learning the Chinese language. Starting from the 2014/15 school year, the "Chinese Language Curriculum Second Language Learning Framework" is implemented in primary and secondary schools. About $200 million per year is allocated to enhance the provision of additional funding to schools to facilitate the implementation of the "Learning Framework" and create an inclusive learning environment in schools, and teachers are provided with professional development programmes and learning materials to help NCS students overcome the difficulties of learning Chinese as a second language. Besides, the Applied Learning Chinese (for NCS Students) subject has been introduced at senior secondary level to offer an additional channel for NCS students to acquire an alternative recognised qualification to facilitate their academic and career pursuits in future.

Ends/Friday, June 26, 2015