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SCA's standup briefing on constitutional development forum

Following is the transcript (English portion) of a standup briefing by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, this afternoon (November 29) on a forthcoming forum jointly arranged by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR:

Reporter: Can you briefly talk about the plan of this trip to Shenzhen this Friday?

SCA: We have just made an announcement that we are organising a forum on constitutional development in Shenzhen on Friday, December 2. We are inviting the Deputy Secretary-General of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC), Mr Qiao Xiaoyang; the Vice-Chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPCSC, Mr Li Fei; and the Vice-Minister of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Zhang Xiaoming, to attend this forum in Shenzhen. We are also inviting as guests of this forum the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the committees and panels of the Legislative Council, the Chairmen of the District Councils in Hong Kong and the representatives of different sectors in the Hong Kong community.

We very much hope that through this forum, Members of the Central People's Government and relevant departments of the Central Authorities will be able to listen directly to the views of political parties, Members of the Legislative Council and representatives of different sectors of the Hong Kong community with regard to the question of constitutional development and the package of proposals which we have put forth for 2007 and 2008.

Reporter: When did you invite the (inaudible)?

SCA: The request that arrangements should be made for political parties and Members of the Legislative Council to have direct communication with representatives of the Central Authorities has been put to us at different stages. You will recall that during a question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council in October, Members put this request to the Chief Executive; and thereafter we have been following up with relevant departments in Beijing. It so happens that we are now able to organise this forum towards the end of the week. We believe that starting this process of direct communication on the question of political and constitutional development between political parties and Legislative Councillors in Hong Kong with the Central Authorities in Beijing will be helpful to the engendering of mutual trust and understanding between Beijing and Hong Kong.

Reporter: Are you worried that this meeting will prompt more people to take to the street on Sunday?

SCA: We do believe that Hong Kong people are very calm and very peaceful in whatever form they express their views. We have every confidence that Hong Kong people will look at and study the package of proposals on 2007 and 2008 constitutional development very methodically and very objectively. So far as the Hong Kong Government is concerned, we fully respect the rights of Hong Kong people to express their views through whatever form, whether it is expressed through the form of public demonstrations or other channels.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Tuesday, November 29, 2005