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Government's response to procession
     In response to the public procession today (January 1), a Government spokesman said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government fully respects the right of Hong Kong people to take part in processions and their freedom of expression, and has approved the use of the recently re-opened East Wing Forecourt of the Central Government Offices, Tamar, for a public meeting following the procession. The spokesman appealed to the participants to abide by the rules for users to avoid accidents.
     On comments by participants of the procession about "One Country, Two Systems" and the Basic Law, the spokesman said the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, has reiterated publicly on many occasions since she assumed office that she, together with the HKSAR Government, will strive to implement "One Country, Two Systems", uphold the Basic Law and safeguard the rule of law. Hong Kong, which successfully implemented "One Country, Two Systems" in the past 20 years after its return to the Motherland, has proved that "One Country, Two Systems" is the best arrangement for maintaining long-term prosperity and stability of the city. "One Country, Two Systems" is a holistic concept premised on "One Country", and with it, we are able to have "Two Systems". We have to deepen the understanding of the Basic Law and the Country’s Constitution to grasp accurately the relationship between "One Country" and "Two Systems" to ensure that "One Country, Two Systems" is progressing in the right direction in Hong Kong comprehensively and accurately, instead of resisting "One Country", or putting "One Country" and "Two Systems" on opposing sides, the spokesman said.
     On the recent passage of the amendments to the Rules of Procedure in the Legislative Council (LegCo), the spokesman said that it is within the authority of the LegCo to set, and to amend, the Rules of Procedure on its own volition according to Article 75 of the Basic Law. The Government, as the executive authorities, respects the decision of the LegCo and hopes that there will be a calm and orderly environment to deal with various matters in relation to economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood more efficiently. In addition, attaching great importance to the executive-legislature relationship, the HKSAR Government agrees that the LegCo is duty-bound to monitor the executive authorities. The Chief Executive will, as proposed by legislators, attend more LegCo meetings from this year and will attend the meetings on January 11 and 31 to address directly questions by legislators. The Chief Executive and the other politically-appointed officials will also communicate with legislators of various parties on a regular basis.
     In response to comments by some participants of the procession on the co-location arrangement for the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) at the West Kowloon Station, the spokesman said the Government held a press conference on December 27 and issued a detailed response on the legal basis for the co-location arrangement on December 29 last year. The Chief Executive also gave a comprehensive response yesterday to various views raised in the community recently. The spokesman reiterated that there is a sound legal basis for the co-location arrangement and appealed to various sectors in the community to understand the co-location arrangement and related matters objectively, pragmatically and comprehensively. The Government sincerely hopes that the Hong Kong Section of the XRL will commence operation as scheduled, enabling Hong Kong people to enjoy the convenience of the XRL as soon as possible.
     On legislation for Article 23 of the Basic Law to safeguard national security, the spokesman quoted the Chief Executive as saying in her earlier Policy Address that from experience, the issue would very readily generate controversies in the community. She said the current‑term Government must act prudently after weighing the pros and cons, and seek to create a favourable social environment for the community to handle this constitutional obligation of the HKSAR in a positive manner.
     The spokesman added that the fifth-term Government of HKSAR has since its assumption of office strived to establish good governance, develop a diversified economy and focus on improving people's livelihood, and that the Government will continue to listen to views of various sectors and meet the expectations of the people with concrete policy initiatives.
Ends/Monday, January 1, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:43
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