Press Releases

Government's response to remarks made by Hon Emily Lau on universal suffrage

Commenting on the remarks made by the Hon Emily Lau on universal suffrage in her "Letter to Hong Kong" broadcast on RTHK today (June 4), a Government spokesman said that he was surprised that, without any factual basis, Ms Lau made a conclusion that the Committee on Governance and Political Development of the Commission on Strategic Development would reject universal suffrage.

He said that the Basic Law had provided that the ultimate aim was to elect the Chief Executive (CE) and the Legislative Council (LegCo) by universal suffrage, and that the aim would be achieved in a gradual and orderly manner and in the light of the actual situation of Hong Kong.

"Since its establishment last November, the Committee has been carrying out its work in accordance with the Basic Law. The Committee has concluded discussions on the principles and concepts relating to universal suffrage at its last meeting on May 26.

"At the meeting, the Committee agreed that the conclusions would form a basis to commence discussion in July this year on possible models for electing the CE and the LegCo by universal suffrage.

"The Committee aims to draw conclusions on the discussions by early 2007 and hopes that this will provide a basis to commence the next phase of work," the spokesman said.

He added that members of the Committee were drawn from a broad cross section of the community, comprising professionals, academics, businessmen, members of different political parties, LegCo Members, and labour and media personalities.

"The LegCo and the public have been fully informed of the issues discussed in the Committee. The Secretariat of the Committee has been providing papers discussed by the Committee to LegCo.

"The papers are also made available to the public through the Commission's website. Moreover, Government officials have been attending LegCo meetings to listen to Members' views on the respective issues," he said.

The spokesman said that both the Central Authorities and the Government were fully committed to taking forward Hong Kong's democratic development in accordance with the Basic Law.

"The proposed package for the electoral methods for 2007/08 put forth by the Government in October last year would have greatly enhanced the democratic representation in the electoral methods for election of the CE and the LegCo.

"According to different opinion polls, some 60 per cent of the population supported the package before it was put to vote late last year. The most recent poll conducted by the Hong Kong Baptist University shows that 50 per cent of the Hong Kong public consider that the opposition camp is responsible for the current stalemate.

"Due to the decision of the opposition camp in December last year to reject the Government's package, they have caused Hong Kong to miss an opportunity to achieve more democracy," he said.

The spokesman said that in the days ahead, the HKSAR Government would continue to maintain close communication and work with LegCo Members of different political backgrounds in order to establish broad consensus on issues of importance to the community.

On the upcoming Election Committee subsector election and the Chief Executive election, he emphasised that Hong Kong's elections had a fine tradition of being open, fair and clean. All elections would be held entirely according to the law.

Ends/Sunday, June 4, 2006