Following is the statement made by the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, at a media session held in Government House tonight (July 1):
To those who have participated in the rally and to all my fellow citizens of Hong Kong, I clearly hear your views. I understand your aspirations.
In the difficult year just passed, we are grateful for the advice, the criticism, the support and the encouragement that you have given us.
It is because of these forthright views and advice you have given to us, and it is because of the response we have made to those views, we are able to witness strong recovery of our economy, improvement in governance, and a much more optimistic sentiment that prevails in the community.
But this is just a beginning. There is still a great deal of work that needs to be done. I hear your concern on our governance. Although there has been substantial improvement, I recognise there is still room for further improvement and we will keep at it.
I also hear your aspirations on democracy. We will take forward constitutional development with the ultimate aim of universal suffrage, in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress, the provisions of the Basic Law as well as the interpretation and the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. I hope that the various sectors of our community will actively participate in the consultation exercise conducted by the task force chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration.
Although the economy is rebounding strongly, I recognise that not all has been able to share the benefit of this recovery. We need to make sure that our economic recovery is sustained so that people's livelihood can be improved. We must make concerted effort to maintain a good relationship with the Central Authorities.
These are enormous responsibilities. The road ahead will be long and hard. But with the concerted effort of every member of our community, I know we will succeed. Let us work together to build a prosperous, stable, free, democratic, harmonious and united Hong Kong.
Thank you all very much.
Ends/Thursday, July 1, 2004