|Government's response to procession on constitutional development
In response to the procession today (October 1), a Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau spokesman said that the Government was sincere and determined to implement universal suffrage. That was why the Government published the Green Paper on Constitutional Development (the Green Paper) to consult the public on the issue of universal suffrage, and to forge consensus within the community.
The spokesman emphasised that the Government's objective of publishing the Green Paper was to identify for the community a set of solutions on how and when universal suffrage should be implemented.
"We have been consulting the community widely and systematically through a variety of channels to encourage responses from the public and different sectors of society, and to listen to their views on the Green Paper. For example, we attended the meetings of all 18 District Councils, and the public hearings organised by the Legislative Council (LegCo) to listen to the views of over 150 deputations on the issue of universal suffrage," said the spokesman.
"Moreover, we arranged open and regional forums to facilitate the public and district personalities to express their views to the Government direct. We have also attended meetings with LegCo functional constituency sectors and Election Committee subsectors, as well as forums organised by various organisations to listen to their views and concerns about the issue of universal suffrage.
"The public consultation of the Green Paper will end in about one week's time. The HKSAR Government encourages different political parties, organisations and the public to seize the opportunity and to express their views before October 10," said the spokesman.
"After the close of public consultation, we will summarise the views received from the community and assess whether differences in opinions have narrowed sufficiently to provide a basis for consensus on implementation of universal suffrage to be formed. After summarising the public views, the HKSAR Government will submit a report to the Central Authorities to reflect the views gathered during the public consultation exercise."
The spokesman pointed out that it was important for political parties and groups, as well as different quarters of the community, to keep an open mind and be accommodating, stressing that consensus on constitutional development could only be forged through rational and pragmatic public discourse.
Ends/Monday, October 1, 2007