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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 (January 16):
Reporter: … sure that Beijing is not meddling with Hong Kong affairs when their Director and the Liaison Office is walking closely with officials and secondly, when you mention the Hong Kong Watch’s report, why you feel worried about that they report on eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy? What would you comment on this?
Chief Executive: First of all, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government is an organ of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, with very clear duties and responsibilities as authorised by the State Council. If you look at each and every of the five duties and responsibilities, they are all there to help us to enhance liaison with the relevant ministries and organisations in the Mainland to promote the interests of Hong Kong, to reflect the interests of Hong Kong people and to liaise with the state enterprises in Hong Kong. So they are all working towards the objective of ensuring the success of “One Country, Two Systems”, and they will fully abide by the Basic Law. In this term of the Government, I take a slightly more pragmatic approach in my working relationship with the Central People’s Government Liaison Office, because if we are to fully or better integrate with national development as laid down by President Xi Jinping in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, this is all for Hong Kong’s better prospects. So, in order to better integrate into the national development, we do need a lot more liaison, a lot more understanding, of the national strategies and this is where the role of the Liaison Office, or for that matter, the OCMFA, that is Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs comes in. So, when I said I’d take a more pragmatic business approach towards the relationship with the CPG Liaison Office, it’s that I would invite CPG officials to discuss with me whenever there is a Mainland angle. I have to stress this time again. It is not the involving the CPG Liaison Office in internal affairs of Hong Kong where we practise a high degree of autonomy. It is in the issue which has a very strong Mainland angle and perspective, and this sort of liaison will help Hong Kong. So, I hope to clear any misunderstanding about this working relationship between the HKSAR government and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government once and for all.

     As far as the Hong Kong Watch’s comments and so-called report on Hong Kong’s latest situation arising from a very brief visit of one of its members, and perhaps only talking, speaking exclusively to some politicians and legal experts in Hong Kong, I take great exception to the comments and conclusions in that report. Those comments are totally unfounded and unfair. To attack the rule of law in Hong Kong and to allege that China, and this is a word they use, that China continues to “erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, thereby breaching an international treaty”, is totally unfounded. We have seen no evidence of that. Quite on the contrary, the Central People’s Government has been fully backing Hong Kong and supporting Hong Kong in our economic and social development, and I have time and again stressed that the core values of Hong Kong include the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, and as the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I will do my utmost to safeguard those core values.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.) 
Ends/Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Issued at HKT 12:18
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