Following is a question by the Dr Hon Lam Tai-fai and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in the Legislative Council today (June 8):
Last month, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China cum Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (the Chairman) paid a visit to Hong Kong for three days. Upon arrival, the Chairman summarised the purpose of his visit as "seeing, listening and speaking". The Chairman attended the "Belt and Road Summit" and made a speech. He also visited the Hong Kong Science Park, an elderly services centre and a subsidised housing project, and met with members of various sectors of the community, including four Legislative Council Members from the pan-democratic camp. It has been reported that it was the first time ever since the reunification of Hong Kong for a state leader to have a separate dialogue with Members from the pan-democratic camp. In a speech made in Hong Kong, the Chairman remarked that the rule of law was one of the core values shared by Hong Kong's community, and no offenders could elude justice on any grounds. He hoped that the Government of the Special Administrative Region (the SAR Government) and the Judiciary would strictly enforce the law and tolerate no unlawful acts. He also reminded Hong Kong people to uphold the Basic Law and the principle of "one country, two systems", otherwise Hong Kong "will be ruined for sure", and he dismissed any calls for "self-determination" and "independence of Hong Kong" as unfeasible. He further commented that we were all in the same boat, "if Hong Kong did well, everyone would benefit. Should Hong Kong turn chaotic, everyone had to foot the bill". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has assessed if the purpose of the Chairman's visit has been achieved; if it has assessed, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(2) whether it has assessed if the Chairman's visit to Hong Kong has raised the popularity ratings of the Chief Executive (CE) and the SAR Government, and boosted public confidence in CE and the SAR Government; if it has assessed, of the respective outcome; if not, the reasons for that;
(3) whether it has assessed if the Chairman's meeting with 10 Members of this Council is conducive to improving the relationship between the Executive Authorities and the Legislature; if it has assessed, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(4) why it has not arranged for the Chairman to visit universities and meet with their students to understand the aspirations of the young people nowadays;
(5) why it has not arranged for the Chairman to visit places such as sub divisions of flat units (commonly known as "sub-divided units"), cubicle apartments and caged homes to gain a better understanding of the current living conditions of the grassroots;
(6) why it has not arranged for the Chairman to visit Mong Kok and briefed him on the whole story and causes of the riot that took place in Mong Kok in the early hours of the second day of the Lunar New Year this year;
(7) why it has not arranged for the Chairman to visit Sheung Shui to understand on-site the nuisance caused by parallel trading activities to local residents, the effectiveness of the enforcement of the "restriction on powdered formula" (i.e. the requirement that each person aged 16 or above may only carry, on his/her departure from Hong Kong within a 24-hour period, powdered formula for infants and young children under the age of 36 months of a total net weight of no more than 1.8 kilograms), as well as the problem of increasing conflicts between the residents of Hong Kong and the Mainland due to parallel trading activities;
(8) whether it will, in light of the Chairman's remark, strictly enforce the law against people who advocate the independence of Hong Kong; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(9) whether it has formulated any policy focusing on curbing and preventing the spread of views advocating the independence of Hong Kong; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(10) whether it has reported to the Chairman on the views of various sectors of Hong Kong on constitutional reform, and recommended when constitutional reform can be initiated again; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(11) whether it has obtained any intelligence regarding some people intending to stir up trouble during the Chairman's visit to Hong Kong, mess up the Chairman's visit to Hong Kong or cause harm to him; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Our consolidated reply to Member's question, which straddles across areas under the purview of a number of bureaux, is as follows:
Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Mr Zhang Dejiang, visited Hong Kong from May 17 to 19 to attend the Belt and Road Summit organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and to inspect the HKSAR. Mr Zhang, in his short remarks given to the media upon his arrival, used the three words "see", "listen" and "speak" to summarise the objectives of the activities during his visit. In this connection, apart from attending and delivering a keynote speech at the Belt and Road Summit, Mr Zhang also listened to a briefing on the HKSAR Government's work, visited a policy bureau, listened to a briefing on Hong Kong's work on innovation and technology, visited an elderly care facility and a public rental housing estate, attended a welcome banquet arranged by the HKSAR Government where he delivered a speech, as well as met with people from different sectors of Hong Kong. During his visit in Hong Kong, apart from meeting the Chief Executive and senior officials of the HKSAR Government, Mr Zhang also met with non-official members of the Executive Council, representatives from the Legislature, the Judiciary and District Councils. Besides, he had exchanges with front-line civil servants from different grades, founders of local innovation and technology start-up companies and senior citizens. The activities and arrangements for the visit programme were in line with the objectives of Mr Zhang's visit.
According to the Security Bureau, whenever national leaders or foreign dignitaries visit Hong Kong, the Police have the responsibility of taking appropriate security measures for their personal safety, and have to ensure that the meetings and other events to be attended by them will be conducted in a safe and orderly manner. The arrangement for Mr Zhang's inspection in Hong Kong was no exception. The Police had conducted comprehensive and professional risk assessments on factors including the situations of the international community, the Mainland and neighbouring areas, local circumstances, intelligence, the dignitary under protection and the events in which he/she would participate, etc., and then adopted appropriate counter-terrorism security measures and deployment. As the gathering of intelligence is a matter of operational details, any disclosure of such details may let criminals get hold of the Police's operational strategies and details thereof, which may compromise the Police's law enforcement capabilities and thus such disclosure is undesirable.
Regarding constitutional development, the HKSAR Government has already stated clearly that as the proposals on the method for selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage were vetoed by the Legislative Council in June 2015, it would be infeasible and impracticable in terms of timetable for the current term HKSAR Government to restart the "Five-step Process" of constitutional development. It would be for the next term HKSAR Government to decide when to restart the "Five-step Process" of constitutional development.
Ends/Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:39