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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 (May 16):

Reporter: Good morning. Two questions. Does the Government have more information about John Leung, the Hong Kong resident sentenced to life in prison for spying charges, like the details of his charges? And when did the Hong Kong Government learn about the arrest? And second question, could the Government explain how even non-political books recently removed from public library shelves could relate to a potential national security threat? And if the Hong Kong Government is not going to release any of its standards in censoring books, do you think it could undermine Hong Kong's freedom of access to information as some have suggested? Thank you.

Chief Executive: First of all, for any person who is arrested by the law enforcement agencies in Mainland China, there is a reporting mechanism for such an arrest to be relayed to the Hong Kong authorities. This has been working well. And the main purpose of this reporting mechanism is to allow the family members to know about the situation, so that they can do what is necessary to help the person concerned. Equally, if there's any request for assistance to the Hong Kong Government, of course we will offer the assistance as much as we can as requested.

     As regards books that are examined by LCSD (Leisure and Cultural Services Department) colleagues, I think it is important for us to get it in the right perspective. First of all, these books are accessible by people in private bookshops. If they want to buy, then they can buy. What libraries need to do is to ensure that when there are books that may not be suitable for circulation, they have to do their duties. And the principles that we use, which I support, are first of all, to ensure that there is no breach of any laws in Hong Kong, including, of course, copyrights, etc; and also, if they spread any kinds of messages that are not in the interests of Hong Kong. That is an important thing that I think any government needs to do, so that the books that we allow for public circulation do serve the interests of Hong Kong. And I have strong confidence in the professionalism of the colleagues involved.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:40
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CE meets the media