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Transcript of remarks by CE at media session in Beijing (with photo/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at a media session in Beijing this evening (March 6):

Reporter: ... You said that you'd to strike a balance between economic impact and people's livelihoods. Can you actually explain what constitutes a balance?

Chief Executive: This is what we're working on. This is exactly what we're working on. I don't think it would be welcome news if one day the Central Authorities announced a new set of policies that will result in a drastic reduction in the number of visitors to Hong Kong, which would in turn impact on the overall economy of Hong Kong and particularly employment prospects in parts of the New Territories that have been relying on Mainland visitors.

Reporter: Mr Zhang's statement that there will be no relaunching of the five-step political reform process. Is that something new or is it understood all the way along, and do you think it's a final warning to pan-democratic lawmakers not to veto this proposal?

Chief Executive: It isn't a warning. It's just an appeal, and it is actually a practical conclusion of the timetable that's before us to implement the universal suffrage to elect the next Chief Executive, whose term will start in the year 2017. We need to have a determination by LegCo in a few months' time and we do need to have two-thirds' super-majority of LegCo members voting for it. Failing that, we don't have enough time. We do not have enough time to implement universal suffrage for 2017 and the next window would be 2022, which will be seven years from now. It would be a shame not to have universal suffrage as early as we can, which is the common aspiration of the Hong Kong people.

     So it isn't a warning. It is a very practical reminder of what's in front of us, and the people of Hong Kong and hopefully through their voices all members of Legislative Council could take this into consideration. It is a matter of constitutional, political and also timetabling reality that we need to make a decision in a few months' time. And there is no question of the National People's Congress withdrawing the Decision that it made on the 31st of August, and there is no question of restarting the process because time, other considerations apart, would not allow it. And so everyone in Hong Kong will have to be realistic about this and the choice between us is between using the previous method, which is an Election Committee method, to elect the next Chief Executive or giving the right to vote for the right candidate to the 5 million eligible voters in Hong Kong. So it's that kind of reminder, and the Central Authorities, including the National People's Congress, including its President, have been extremely consistent all along about its position, so there shouldn't be any unrealistic expectation on the part of anyone in Hong Kong otherwise. So this is what we have in store. Thank you very much.

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

Ends/Friday, March 6, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:49


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