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Transcript of remarks by CS on Commission on Poverty (with video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Commission on Poverty, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a media session at the lobby of West Wing, Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (June 12):

Reporter: Mrs Lam, can you explain the reason for streamlining the Commission's structure. And secondly, do you think the State Council's White Paper is actually scaring off Hong Kong people and making them wanting to leave Hong Kong because the "One Country, Two Systems" principle is already no longer there?

Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Commission on Poverty: Well, as far as the proposed changes to the structure of the Commission on Poverty, because in the first term, over one and a half years, a lot of work has been undertaken by the Commission as well as by the six task forces. So we have taken a thorough look, in consultation with our members, and there are two task forces which could be sort of dealt with in a different fashion. Because of the public concern about retirement protection, so instead of having another task force to look at retirement protection and social security, members agree that these important subjects should be dealt with at the main committee level, so we don't need a separate task force on social security and retirement protection. All matters in future will be tackled at the Commission on Poverty level, so this will enable us to be able to react faster to the public concern.

     The second task force which will be removed from the future structure is the Societal Engagement (Task Force), which is about organising campaigns and programmes and activities, like the "Future Stars" and the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign. So our view is this sort of projects and campaigns could be dealt with on a more ad hoc basis. So as and when the Commission wants to introduce some campaigns or projects, that is the time to set up a special working group, so there is no need to have a standing task force to look at societal engagement.

     I will say a few things about the White Paper, although the purpose of this media briefing is on the work of the Commission on Poverty. I think the White Paper is to be welcomed, because it is a very comprehensive, very clear and very accurate description of the implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong. There is absolutely no truth in the sort of allegation that the White Paper has undermined Hong Kong's autonomy, because everything goes back to the Basic Law. So I would take this opportunity to appeal to members of the public that this is a document which is very worth reading, and as Chairman of the steering committee on the promotion of the Basic Law, I have encouraged my committee members to make use of the White Paper to conduct their future public education on better understanding of the Basic Law.

Reporter: There was no mention of comprehensive governance, the power of the Central Government to comprehensively govern Hong Kong, in the Basic Law at all, but it is in the White Paper.

Chief Secretary: That is a point that has been made in the course of our public consultations on the constitutional development. We have time and again emphasised that in considering Hong Kong's constitutional development, the Central Authorities have a most important role. In fact, the discussion in the "Five-step Process" will require the blessing of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, and anything that has been approved in the Legislative Council by a two-thirds majority will still have to go back to the NPCSC. So this important and essential constitutional role of the Central Authorities over the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has always been a consistent stance, of us and of the Central Authorities. Thank you very much.

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

Ends/Thursday, June 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:56


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