Following is a question by Dr the Hon Lam Tai-fai and a reply by the Acting Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Ronald Chan, in the Legislative Council today (June 15):
There have been comments that Hong Kong is facing intensified social dissension and an unprecedentedly poor relationship between the executive authorities and the legislature. The Chief Executive (CE) stated earlier that the existing problems would remain unresolved even with the replacement of the CE. When the CE was asked by a reporter why he did not honour the promise he had made upon assumption of office (i.e. he will continue to go to the people with his governing team to listen to the people's views, bringing with him a stool, a notepad and a pen), the CE replied that if there was any occasion which did not need a massive deployment of two to three hundred police officers outside the meeting venue to cordon off the area and stop people from running onto carriageways or hurling objects, and if at the meeting venue the attendees could have communications on supporting or opposing views, he would be very willing to visit districts to listen to public views. He also said that he had been creating opportunities for communications with the pan-democratic Members of this Council, but he was snubbed by some of them. Yet, when the CE earlier issued invitations to a farewell banquet to be held for Members of this Council, some pan-democratic Members were not invited. On the other hand, according to the survey findings released earlier by the Public Opinion Programme of The University of Hong Kong, the popularity rating of the CE is 36.2, which is an all-time low in his term of office and a net popularity of negative 46 percentage points, which is a new record low since he delivered the Policy Address in January this year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has assessed why it is the case that whenever the incumbent CE visited districts, there were a large group of people trying to surround and charge at him, as well as hurling abuses at, insulting and making personal attacks on him using vulgar languages, necessitating the authorities' massive deployment of two to three hundred police officers for maintaining order; if it has assessed, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; whether it has sought to understand from the CE whether he has no intention to visit districts again during his remaining term of office as long as the aforesaid situation has not improved;
(2) whether it has assessed the reasons why pan-democratic Members have snubbed the CE by declining his invitations to the banquet, and whether it has sought to understand from the CE the reasons why individual pan-democratic Members were not invited to the farewell banquet and if he has given up communicating with the pan-democratic Members; if it has assessed and sought to understand, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) whether it has assessed if the long-standing low popularity ratings of the CE and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are attributable to the political accountability team being disunited, incapable, failing to do real work for Hong Kong, and unable to gain support and trust from the public; if it has assessed and obtained the findings, of the details, and how the authorities will make improvements; if not, the reasons for that?
Our consolidated reply to Dr the Hon Lam's question, after consulting the relevant offices and departments, is as follows:
The Chief Executive (CE) always reaches out to different sectors of the community through a variety of means. These include attending activities organised by different organisations, meeting with relevant people on social issues and having exchanges with members of different sectors through various means such as inviting them to banquets. As to local personalities, the CE hosted two banquets at Government House this year to exchange views on district issues with representatives of District Councils. The CE also attended different district activities at invitation to interact with local personalities.
As regards the Legislative Council (LegCo), the CE also always maintains close communication with LegCo Members through a variety of means. These include meeting with different political parties and the independents to listen to their views when preparing the Policy Address each year, attending the CE's Question and Answer Sessions of the LegCo to answer Members' questions direct, meeting with various political parties and the independents to exchange views on individual issues, attending LegCo's banquets or receptions at invitation, and hosting banquets for LegCo Members at Government House. On the basis of rational communication and respecting Members' wishes, the CE will continue to make earnest efforts to communicate with different political parties and the independents in the LegCo.
The CE and the current-term Government strive to serve the community and work for the overall interests and long term development of Hong Kong under the key themes of "developing the economy and improving the livelihood". Over the past few years, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has made certain progress and achievements in increasing land and housing supply, helping the poor and the disadvantaged, caring for the elderly, responding to an ageing population, promoting education and youth development, improving the environment and enhancing conservation. Hong Kong is a pluralistic and open society, the HKSAR Government understands that there are often differing views on public affairs and social issues among different stakeholders. However, the HKSAR Government always acts in the overall and long-term interest of the Hong Kong community in formulating policies and will continue to enhance communication with the public so as to gain their trust and support.
Ends/Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:07