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Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)
      Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting today (March 28):

Reporter: The first question is on Sunday's protest march. How likely are the conditions applied to the procession will be extended to all the protest marches in the future? What's your take on the conditions? Are they necessary to ensure that the protests are conducted in a peaceful manner? The second question is about the anthem. Any updates on the anthem investigation? Thank you.

Chief Executive: Any conduct of public gathering must be done in an orderly and peaceful manner, and in accordance with the law. We have experienced the "black violence", which we all suffered in 2019, and the follow-up troubles, so we have to be careful that any public gathering will not be either hijacked or turned into troubles that will cause not just inconvenience, but risks to public order, public safety and also national security. We also have to respect the rights of other people who are not involved in the public gatherings, whether it is a procession or whether it is a public meeting, so the Commissioner of Police has a duty under the Public Order Ordinance to ensure that all these public gatherings proceed in an orderly, safe and lawful manner. After every action, the Police will, of course, consider the whole process and then they will come up with some good ideas about how things should proceed. So this is a balancing act that the Commissioner of Police will do, and I trust that he will do well. The Commissioner of Police will, as a result of each public gathering, look at what has happened, and then gather the experience, and plan for future handling. So I will leave it to the Commissioner of Police to deal with it.

     As regards the wrong playing of our National Anthem in public sports events, it is important that we know that it is a serious matter. The National Anthem is a matter of dignity. It is a matter that deals with the emotion of our people. And the people whose feeling will be hurt must be taken care of seriously. So I think every organisation and every company that may have a role to play should try to ensure that the right song is played, which is the national anthem of the team concerned. So our National Anthem must be played on such occasions. The responsible sports association should take all its best to ensure this is done. We have guidelines drawn up for this. And I know that the ice hockey association has submitted its report to the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee (SF&OC). Colleagues in the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau will be meeting representatives of SF&OC to see how this incident happened and what measures should be taken against it.

     My guidance in this is very clear. If those who are in the management or who are the leading officials of any sports organisations haven't done what they should do, then they should be held accountable, and actions should be taken appropriately. But I also want to ensure the players who have done their parts that their interest should be taken care of, so that for any measures that will be taken, they will not be affected. That includes their training and participation in games.
     We have been examining all these cases, and it actually boils down to two factors. One is whether our teams have done what they are required to do under the guidelines. The second, the organisers, whether they are doing what they're supposed to do. The third is because the organisers sometimes don't take our advice to play the National Anthem that we have either provided or pointed to them to get it downloaded from official websites. They have taken to Google to search for the National Anthem, and Google, during the search, sometimes revealed information that doesn't reflect our National Anthem correctly. That is also a factor that causes this problem. We have been talking to Google and I think a responsible organisation such as Google should do its best to ensure a national anthem, when somebody searches for it, is displayed correctly. Because that applies to all countries' national anthems. We are in discussion with them for a long time and I hope they will be helpful in ensuring that the right national anthems of different countries should be displayed during the search. They can do it, we think; it is a matter of whether they are willing to do it. So I hope they will exercise a responsible attitude to do what their company policy has indicated that they will do.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Issued at HKT 13:15
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