Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo meeting (with video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting this morning (September 19):
Reporter: Mrs Lam, but do you think, like, you would condemn this saying because I mean some people found these comments very distasteful. And do you think it’s the fault of both sides when you mentioned that, well, it's because of independence movement that these comments are sparked? And can you talk a little bit about when you talk about university heads can handle the problem of independence in campus, and the government won’t really step in, do you think this saying is kind of putting a little pressure on the university to handle this matter now?
Chief Executive: Well, first of all, I’m standing here not to do any fault finding and I’m not standing here as an adjudicator. I am telling the people of Hong Kong that there is no room for any discussion on the independence of Hong Kong because that breaches “one country, two systems”, which underlines the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. That violates the Basic Law, and is absolutely not in the overall interest of Hong Kong. So that position is very clear.
     As a result of a very small portion of people, including university students, trying to sort of advocate that sort of independence comments, I have said on previous occasion that that should be condemned and this should not be allowed to prolong in our university campus because universities are for students to be educated and to do their normal activities. And also, I have noticed that this debate has sort of spread into society at large, with people taking sides and using very foul language and so on. I think that is the most unhealthy and totally unnecessary for Hong Kong because everybody wants Hong Kong to go back to being a more harmonious society and so on.
     As far as the joint statement issued by the heads of 10 universities in Hong Kong, I support the issue of that statement because that statement simply states that, yes, we have freedom of expression and we should safeguard the freedom of expression, but that doesn’t mean that you could breach the Basic Law or do things that society find totally unacceptable. And the universities' heads have made it very clear their anti-independence stance, which again I think is only right and legitimate, so I support the universities' heads' joint statement. But as far as the follow-up actions in individual universities, I have every confidence that the university management will handle this issue. I have absolutely no intention right now to interfere into university management and to sort of suggest as you did that by saying this sort of things as a Chief Executive, I am exerting pressure on the university heads. I think you have underestimated the independent thinking of our university heads. I don’t think they could be easily influenced by a Chief Executive.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Issued at HKT 13:00