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Transcript of remarks by Acting CE at media session before ExCo meeting (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Acting Chief Executive, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting this morning (August 22):
Reporter: In terms of the protest on Sunday, how much do you think that represents public views and public opinion, and also because you said we should look forward, as a goodwill do you think the Government should, well, make a promise that you guys will not appeal against sentences handed down by the court to opposition or to activists that are fighting for our rights. And also, in terms of, when it comes to reports to the reopening of Civic Square, what are some of the considerations, because if you guys decide against taking down the barriers, the Civic Square will essentially still be physically closed to the public.

Acting Chief Executive: Right, first of all, let me deal with the last question first, Eastern Forecourt of Tamar Headquarters. Our inclination is quite clear. In fact, the Chief Executive has made it quite clear that we will reopen the Forecourt. It's an inclination which is absolutely clear – we will do it. But the question is how to do it and the modus operandi, the arrangements, exact management arrangements have to be worked out. So we are now working very hard on the detailed arrangements and once that's completed we'll make an announcement on opening the Forecourt for public access - first of all. Secondly, you asked the public feedback, opinion on recent events, on the protest on Sunday. Views are divided on recent events – we're all aware of it. But I think we should look ahead, look ahead. And in fact, the present administration adopts an open and tolerant approach - we are really very empathetic to public aspirations. So, we really want to build bridges and enhance understanding with the community. That's why for the last seven weeks we've been conducting a series of consultation exercises with the full spectrum of the community, from LegCo political parties to individual professional groups, to tap the views on the upcoming Policy Address. At the same time, all political appointees including myself have been working very hard to reach out to the grassroots, the whole community. A good example is that in the next seven days, there will be eight political appointees, including the Financial Secretary and seven other bureau secretaries, we will visit individual districts throughout Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories to feel the pulse of the community, the grassroots. We mean business and we are determined to really to build a people-oriented, action-oriented administration this term, ok?
Reporter: On my first question on looking forward - do you think the Government can make a promise not to appeal against any sentence or any conviction the court has handed down to activists or the opposition?

Acting Chief Executive: I think the Government has already made it clear that in terms of disqualification of LegCo Members, we've said it very clearly – we will not pursue any new so-called "DQ cases". We've made it quite clear, alright? I think that's a pretty telling sign that we adopt an open, a tolerant, but at the same time we've got to operate within the confines of the law and public order, that's extremely important to Hong Kong. Thank you very much.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:55
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Acting CE meets the media