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Government responds to July 1 procession

     In response to the procession today (July 1), a Government spokesman said that the Government must work for the overall and long-term interest of Hong Kong while it takes note of different views on policies and initiatives.

     It sincerely hopes that various sectors will, in the interest of Hong Kong, strive to seek common ground while accommodating differences, and support the Government in implementing its policies and initiatives.

     He pointed out that throughout the past four years of its current term, the Government has been committed to promoting economic development and improving people's livelihood. The effort is gradually bearing fruit in various policy areas.

     "On the economic front, Hong Kong has seen mild inflation, full employment and an increase in people's income, and has held a sound fiscal position. The Government is determined to resolve the housing problem which is of the greatest concern to Hong Kong people. The effort in increasing land and housing supply has yielded results. Property prices and rentals have started to fall and the demand-supply imbalance in housing has been reversed," he said.

     As for large-scale infrastructure projects, they can bring about long-term economic and social benefits for Hong Kong. These projects are expected to open up numerous job opportunities for various sectors, improve the livelihood of the general public, strengthen Hong Kong's competitiveness and lay a solid foundation for sustainable development in future.

     In addition, the Government has directed a lot of resources into poverty alleviation, elderly care and support for the disadvantaged, leading to a continual drop in the poor population. Furthermore, it has launched policies and initiatives to tackle an ageing society.

     The Government has also tasked the Commission on Poverty (CoP) and the Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) to launch in-depth studies and extensive consultations on the complicated and controversial issues of retirement protection and standard working hours respectively.

     Following the recent completion of the six-month public engagement exercise on retirement protection, the independent consultant will consolidate and analyse views collected in order to submit a report to the CoP for further consideration by the end of this year. The SWHC is conducting a comprehensive public consultation with a view to submitting its report to the Government by the end of this year. The Government hopes to set policy directions for both subjects within this term.

     On promoting democratic development in Hong Kong, the current-term Government, in accordance with the Basic Law and the relevant Interpretation and Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, released proposals last year on the method for selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage, which provided for selecting the next-term Chief Executive through "one person, one vote" by eligible voters in Hong Kong. However, the proposals were vetoed by the Legislative Council.

     "The Chief Executive and the HKSAR Government will continue to adopt a pragmatic and rational approach, strengthen communication with different sectors and capitalise on development opportunities in Hong Kong for the future," the spokesman said.

     On the incident regarding a bookstore in Causeway Bay, the spokesman said that the Government attaches great importance to the situation and understands the concern of the people in Hong Kong. It has written to the Central People's Government (CPG) to reflect its concern, and the CPG has agreed to discuss the existing notification mechanism between Hong Kong and the Mainland. The HKSAR Government is reviewing the existing notification mechanism, and will liaise with the Central Authorities and relevant departments in the Mainland as soon as possible to work out the follow-up arrangements.

     The Hong Kong Police Force has met with Mr Lam Wing-kee and recorded a statement. The Police will study the information provided by Mr Lam and take appropriate follow-up action.

Ends/Friday, July 1, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:15


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