Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article Government Homepage
CS'transcript of remarks on adjustments to package of proposals in Fifth Report

Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui, on the Government's adjustments to the package of proposals in the Fifth Report of the Constitutional Development Task Force at a media session held at the ground floor lobby of West Wing, Central Government Offices today (December 19):

Reporter: I am sorry to say that there are only very limited changes here you are going to make and you say that already this is the biggest extent of  changes the SAR Government could make. Do you think these changes will be enough to convince the pro-democracy camp to support the package. Why can¡¦t you go to Beijing  and liaise for a better package.

Chief Secretary for Administration: In the course of preparing the proposals in our No 5 report there has been regular, constant, detailed and vigorous exchange of views between the SARG leadership and the relevant authorities in Beijing. What you have said is nothing new. What you have said is something that the SARG leadership has been doing for a long time. So it is not a question of whether we should once again go to Beijing or not. There has been very close and very vigorous reflection and exchange of views.

Reporter: Are you telling the Hong Kong public that the limited concessions offered here are all that Beijing is prepared to allow and there can be no other concessions?

Chief Secretary for Administration: I am not telling the Hong Kong public that these are the only so-called concessions made. I am only saying that some Legislative Council members should heed the views of Hong Kong people that the recommendations put forward in Report No 5 should go ahead, irrespective of whether there is anything or timetable or rumour, because it is very clear that this particular adjustment is not made only with respect to the views held by some individual LegCo members but also the views expressed in the past few weeks in the course of my discussions with 18 District Council members and also commentaries by individual commentators and academics. This is our response, not just those members who have expressed their reservations about the arrangements related to appointed DC members.

Reporter: Both sides can and have played a majority or mainstream opinion in this debate, that¡¦s a matter of disagreement. But, as there is clearly conflict on the issue in the community, would you be willing to consider the suggestion that has been made of withdrawing or suspending the bill for a cooling off period for a period of time while people hash this out a bit more?

Chief Secretary for Administration: The Report No 5 proposals are the products of a long period of discussion and consultations within the community. The reason why this is Report No 5 is simply because there have been four previous reports which indicates the process has been going on for well over 18 months. We have to have arrangements in place for electing the new Chief Executive in March, 2007. Prior to that election there are lots of preparation work, both legislative and administrative, in order that in 2007 the elections can proceed smoothly. We have explained even earlier on as to why this timing is so tight. Now you can say there is disagreement, of course there is disagreement. But equally, there is a lot of support for our proceeding on the basis of our Report No 5 proposals while the question of timetable can be further discussed. The two do not necessarily have to be linked together. And so far, quite frankly, I have yet to hear any valid reason why these two should be tied together.

Reporter: So are you willing or unwilling to consider a cooling off period?

Chief Secretary for Administration: It is not a cooling off period. I would not characterise this in any way as a cooling off period because the discussions within the community have been going on for almost two years.

Reporter: This strikes me as extremely minor concessions that¡¦s unlikely to make much headway with the pro-democrats. Speaking in terms of  ¡K conflict this is serious, this seems more like excessive propaganda, not a serious attempt to do anything but create window dressing, should the proposal fail

Chief Secretary for Administration: I will not consider this in any way as window dressing because we have procedures also in the context of the response that the Government has already made, that the Chief Executive himself has already made, in the context of the Commission on Strategic Development with a realistic timetable to conclude discussion by the middle of 2007. That commitment has already been made. What I am saying is that until voting is done I would not wish to speculate today on either the outcome or the aftermath if the voting does not go the Government¡¦s way. It ain¡¦t over until the fat lady sings, or so they say.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, December 19, 2005
Issued at HKT 17:15


Print this page