LCQ3: Discussions on implementation of universal suffrage
Following is a question by Hon Emily Lau and an oral reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (May 17):
It has been reported that, at a seminar held on the 27th of last month in Beijing, a Mainland member of the Committee for the Basic Law has remarked that the following six basic conditions have to be fulfilled before universal suffrage may be implemented in Hong Kong: (a) politically, there is consensus on universal suffrage among the various sectors of the community and such consensus is endorsed by the Central Authorities; (b) economically, the implementation of universal suffrage facilitates the development of a capitalist economy and guarantees the economy of Hong Kong against recession; (c) legally, laws have been enacted to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law and the laws on the development of political parties have been further perfected; (d) educationally, there is sufficient national education in Hong Kong; (e) in the sphere of political culture, instead of pursuing a culture that is simply confrontational in nature, the different sectors of Hong Kong seek to establish an active and constructive political culture; and (f) regarding the way of life, the various sectors of the community and the public have sufficient time to accept new way of life brought about by the implementation of universal suffrage e.g. a Chief Executive elected by universal suffrage will face greater pressure from public opinions and his ways of handling matters will change accordingly. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
(a) whether officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("HKSAR") Government attended the seminar mentioned above; if so, of the post titles and names of the officials concerned; if not, the reasons for that;
(b) whether the above six conditions are the consensus reached between the Central People's Government and the HKSAR Government on matters relating to universal suffrage; and
(c) given that the Mainland authorities in charge of Hong Kong affairs are discussing issues on the implementation of universal suffrage in Hong Kong, whether the authorities in the HKSAR will initiate relevant discussions in Hong Kong; if so, of the forums for such discussions and their contents and directions; if not, the reasons for that?
In response to the question raised by the Honourable Emily Lau, our overall reply is as follows.
The seminar mentioned in the question was co-organised by the Research Institute of Hong Kong and Macao of the Development Research Centre of State Council and a media organisation. As we understand it, the purpose of the seminar was to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the promulgation of the Hong Kong Basic Law and the 13th anniversary of the promulgation of the Macao Basic Law, and to allow experts and academics from the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao to exchange views on the implementation of the Basic Law and issues such as constitutional development in Hong Kong and Macao.
Mr Tsang Tak-sing, Member of the Central Policy Unit, accepted the organisers' invitation and attended the seminar to take part in academic exchange with participants. The relevant policy bureaux of the Government were not invited.
Both the Central Government and the SAR Government are fully alive to the community's aspirations on universal suffrage. We will promote democratic development in accordance with the Basic Law to attain the ultimate aim of universal suffrage. As to how universal suffrage is to be attained, this will require consensus among the Central Authorities, the Government, the Legislative Council (LegCo), and different sectors of the community.
The Government has not taken any view on a roadmap for universal suffrage. The issue is being pursued through discussion by the Commission on Strategic Development (CSD). The Committee on Governance and Political Development of CSD will hold its fourth meeting on May 26 and will conclude discussions on the concepts and principles relating to universal suffrage. It will then proceed to examine possible models of a universal suffrage system for the Chief Executive and LegCo. The aim of the CSD is to conclude discussions by early 2007. The conclusions on the discussions can provide a basis for us to commence our next stage of work. We will also reflect the conclusions to the Central Authorities.
Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2006