Daily Information Bulletin
Issued by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Information Services
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Wednesday, July 9, 1997 CONTENTS ======== 1. Transcript of the SAR Chief Executive 2. FS's transcript 3. CE visits Stonecutters Naval Base 4. Speech by the Chief Executive 5. Insider Dealing Tribunal 6. HKMA launches first CD-ROM 1. Transcript of the SAR Chief Executive ************************************* Following is the transcript of the media session by the SAR Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, after visiting the Stonecutters Naval Base of the PLA Garrison in the HKSAR this (Wednesday) morning: Question: Mr Tung, in the life with the Hong Kong people in Hong Kong, to what extent are the PLA responsible to you and to what extent of their responsibility to the Central Government in Beijing? Mr Tung: Well, the PLA is in Hong Kong to demonstrate the sovereignty of China over Hong Kong. And PLA is in Hong Kong to carry out defence responsibility if there is any need. So far as their responsibility is concerned, they of course report directly to the authorities in the Central in Beijing. If there is any need for me to request assistance from the PLA, for instance, to help in any storm or landslide, I have to ask the Central Government for such assistance. Question: And if there is an internal security matter as well, if you require them to help in the internal security ...? Mr Tung: Yes, absolutely. End 2. FS's transcript *************** Following is the remarks of the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang at a media session at the Legislative Council Building this (Wednesday) afternoon: Question: Mr Tsang, you've mentioned that you had already seen some sort of adverse impact since the passing of the labour laws, what sort of impact are that? FS: It is a question of perception, from the point of view of investors, it is certainly a disincentive that we have in our labour legislation provisions such as collective bargaining. And from the international credit rating agency's point of view this is something which we have to look at very carefully. They might affect Hong Kong's competitiveness and I believe this is certainly a very bad development in the early days of the Special Administrative Region. Question: There's been criticism that the government has bowed to pressure from the business sector. How would your react to that? FS: It is not a question of bowing to pressure of any sector of community. It's looking at the overall interest of Hong Kong as a whole and come to what I believe to be a rational approach to the problem. We have, whether we like it or not, inherited a number of pieces of legislation which we regarded elliptical to Hong Kong's economic interest, for that reason we have to act pretty quickly and we have been doing it very deliberately and carefully. What we are asking the legislature to do is to suspend these laws from operation as soon as possible, give us time to analyse and examine these provisions carefully so that we are able to come back to the legislature as quickly as possible. This is what we are doing. Thank you very much indeed. End 3. CE visits Stonecutters Naval Base ********************************* The Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, visited the Stonecutters Naval Base of the PLA Garrison in the HKSAR this (Wednesday) morning. He was greeted by the garrison's Commander, Major General Liu Zhenwu, and its Political Commissar, Major General Xiong Ziren. Accompanying Mr Tung on the visit were the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Anson Chan; the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang; the Secretary for Justice, Miss Elsie Leung; the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Michael Suen; the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Nicholas Ng; and the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai. Also present were heads of departments that have frequent contacts with the PLA, including the Police, Immigration, Customs and Excise, Architectural Services, Electrical and Mechanical Services, Marine and Civil Aviation. Mr Tung took the opportunity to welcome the PLA Garrison on behalf of the SAR Government. He said: "The stationing of the PLA Garrison, composed of the army, navy and air force, has not only realised the People's Republic of China's sovereignty in Hong Kong's land, sea and air space, but has also provided a strong guarantee in the defence of the HKSAR." The Garrison has not only required its members to familiarise themselves with the Basic Law, the Garrison Law and relevant local legislation, but has also compiled guidelines on these legislation to strictly govern the actions of the entire garrison stationed in Hong Kong. Their serious attitude towards the Basic Law should be a good example and an encouragement for Hong Kong people, he said. The Chief Executive then presented a souvenir flag to Major General Liu Zhenwu. Major General Xiong Ziren also presented a souvenir to Mr Tung. Mr Tung and his party showed great interest as they were briefed by PLA officers on board a missile escort craft and a transportation vessel. End 4. Speech by the Chief Executive ***************************** Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, the Honourable Tung Chee Hwa, to the Ninth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation today (Wednesday): Dr Brakemeier, Dr Noko, delegates, guests, ladies and gentlemen, Let me begin by welcoming you personally to Hong Kong as you commence your Ninth Assembly. I understand this year also marks the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lutheran World Federation, and I congratulate you on achieving this milestone. We in Hong Kong have entered a new era just over a week ago. On July 1, after 156 years of separation, Hong Kong celebrated joyfully its reunification with China. The historic event filled Hong Kong people with pride and confidence. Pride because for the first time in our history, Hong Kong people took on the solemn responsibility of managing our own affairs. Confidence because we know that under the "one country, two systems" concept Hong Kong will be even better tomorrow. Indeed the smooth and peaceful handover of the territory represents a new testament to the vision and ingenuity of the architects of the "one country, two systems" concept. Under the Basic Law, which provides the constitutional framework for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China has granted Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy and has guaranteed the continuation of its previous systems and way of life for many years to come. We, the people of Hong Kong, value this empowerment very deeply, and we are determined to discharge our responsibilities earnestly and prudently. The HKSAR Government will preserve the existing freedoms and lifestyle, and ensure that the people of Hong Kong will continue to enjoy the freedoms of speech, assembly, association, the press and other freedoms guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. One of the important freedoms that my Government will preserve is, of course, the freedom of religion. Article 141 of the Basic Law clearly stipulates that the HKSAR Government shall not restrict the freedom of religious belief, interfere in the internal affairs of religious organisations or restrict religious activities which do not contravene the laws of Hong Kong. The property rights and interests of religious organisations shall be maintained and protected. The same Article also provides that religious organisations may, according to their previous practice, continue to run seminaries and other schools, hospitals and welfare institutions and to provide other social services. Religious organisations and believers in the HKSAR may maintain and develop their relations with religious organisations and believers elsewhere. I am very pleased that the Lutheran World Federation has decided to hold its Ninth Assembly in Hong Kong. It demonstrated eloquently your full confidence in the future of Hong Kong. And I would like to extend to all of you my warmest wishes and congratulations for a very fruitful and successful conference. Thank you. End 5. Insider Dealing Tribunal ************************ The Financial Secretary has appointed Mr Chan Wai Dune, Charles and Mr Wu Chi Tso, John as lay members to the Insider Dealing Tribunal set up to inquire into possible insider dealing in the listed securities of the Chee Shing Holdings Ltd. (now renamed as Tysan Holdings Ltd.) during the period from June 1 to July 5, 1993 (inclusive). The appointments were made in accordance with section 15(2) and section 15(5) of the Securities (Insider Dealing) Ordinance, and with paragraph 3 of the Schedule thereto. Mr Chan is a managing partner of Charles Chan, Ip & Fung and Mr Wu is the senior partner of John Wu & Company. They will be sitting in the Tribunal under the chairmanship of the Honourable Mr Justice Burrell. Preliminary hearing of the case will be held on Thursday, July 10, 1997 at 3.30 pm in Room 702, Peregrine Tower, Lippo Centre, 89 Queensway. End 6. HKMA launches first CD-ROM ************************** The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has released a CD-ROM as an interactive guide to Hong Kong's monetary and banking systems. The CD-ROM contains a digest of information in the HKMA Annual Report and additional video clips corroborating the importance of Hong Kong as an international financial centre. Also included is a video clip on the minting of the '97 commemorative gold coin and a computer animation showing the New Extension of the Convention & Exhibition Centre where the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings will be held this September. Useful features include a key word search function and a direct link to the internet. Users of the CD-ROM are able to access HKMA's website for the latest information by clicking a button. The HKMA CD-ROM is available at major local bookstores at $50 per copy. End Wednesday, July 9, 1997 Provisional LegCo Supplement Contents ======== 1. Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Bill 1997 2. United Nations Sanctions Bill 1. Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Bill 1997 ********************************************************* Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Anson Chan, in moving the second reading of the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Bill 1997 at the Provisional Legislative Council today (Wednesday): Madam President, I move that the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Bill 1997 be read the second time. The Bill aims to suspend the operation of the legislative changes effected by 7 Ordinances which were introduced by members of the previous Legislative Council and passed at the last sitting of the 1996 - 97 legislative session. These 7 Ordinances are: - Employment (Amendment) (No. 4) Ordinance 1997; - Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Ordinance 1997; - Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997; - Employee's Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Ordinance 1997; - Trade Unions (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 1997; - Protection of the Harbour Ordinance; - Hong Kong Bill of Rights (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 Most of these Ordinances have far reaching implications for Government policies and operations, which have not been fully considered before enactment. Indeed, only three were scrutinised by a Bills Committee, i.e. the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, the Employment (Amendment)(No. 4) Ordinance 1997 and the Trade Unions (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 1997. The provisions of the five labour-related Ordinances were not based on any consensus reached by the Labour Advisory Board. This move has undermined the well- established tripartite consultative forum comprising employers, employees and Government and it adversely affects the harmonious labour relations which Hong Kong currently enjoys. In particular, the Employee's Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Ordinance has immediate and far-reaching implications for the existing labour relations system in Hong Kong. The Ordinance affects over 1.3 million employees or 57 per cent of the total number of employees in Hong Kong. It is likely to disrupt industrial harmony by inducing intense rivalries amongst different trade unions in competing for members and recognition for representation, and by impeding the operation of the current labour dispute mechanism through direct and voluntary negotiations between employers and employees. The Ordinance requires employers to consult employees through their representative trade unions on sensitive commercial decisions such as changes in ownership and restructuring. It is also very likely to adversely affect Hong Kong's economic competitiveness and attractiveness to overseas investments to the detriment of the employment opportunities of the entire workforce. The Protection of the Harbour Ordinance establishes a presumption against reclamation in the central harbour and will seriously undermine our ability to provide more land and transport infrastructure in the Central Business District. Although the Protection of the Harbour Bill was studied by a Bills Committee, the Committee Stage Amendments passed at the last sitting were not studied because they were proposed after the Bills Committee had concluded its work. The Bill of Rights (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 intends to repeal all legislation which is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Ordinance (BORO) and this includes not just legislation invoked by the Government or public authorities but those affecting inter-citizen rights. However, section 7 of BORO sets out in very clear terms that BORO only binds the Government and the public authorities. Therefore, the Bill of Rights (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 may raise certain legal uncertainties and we need to consider its effect further with a view to removing any doubts over the provisions of BORO. The 5 labour-related Ordinances, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 and the Protection of Harbour Ordinance have already come into operation. As they represent a major departure from Government policies and may have adverse long-term consequences for the community as a whole, we consider it prudent to review each piece of legislation carefully to assess the social, economic and political implications. We will consult all relevant parties, such as the Labour Advisory Board, before deciding on the way forward. We will be making a decision on these Ordinances individually since they vary in nature and complexity. This in turn will affect the time required for scrutiny. In all cases, we aim to complete the review not later than September. I can also assure Members that this Council will be consulted on the outcome of the review. The Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Bill therefore represents a pragmatic approach which allows for a proper scrutiny of the various legislative changes to determine whether the provisions are truly in the public interest. In the course of our review, we will also study the impact of the Interception of Communications Ordinance and the Housing (Amendment) Ordinance which were introduced by Members of the previous Legislative Council before deciding whether they should come into operation. We will also be looking at the Crimes (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance which was substantially amended during the Committee Stage at the last sitting of the previous Legislative Council. In order to minimise and contain the changes effected by the 7 Ordinances which have already come into force, it is highly desirable to proceed as quickly as possible with the Bill. However, I understand that Members have reservations over whether we should complete all three readings of the Bill in one sitting today. In view of this and in order to allow members more time to consider the Bill, I propose to deal with the Bill in the normal manner, that is by moving the adjournment of the Second Reading debate. I appeal to members to support the resumption of the Second Reading debate on this Bill at the next sitting on July 16 and to pass this Bill. In the next few days we will be happy to provide any additional information or explanation on the Bill which members may require. I fully accept that the proposal to suspend operation of the 7 Ordinances is an unusual move. Let me assure Members that we have not taken this action lightly. However in the light of all the circumstances which I have outlined above, the Administration believes that it would be irresponsible to allow these Ordinances to operate in the absence of a clear assessment of how these provisions are likely to affect the community as a whole. We also need to allow time for various interested parties to express their views. It is already clear from the wider views expressed so far that there is serious concern over the hasty enactment of these Ordinances during the last legislative session. With these remarks, I strongly urge members to support the early passage of the Bill. End 2. United Nations Sanctions Bill ***************************** Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the second reading of the United Nations Sanctions Bill in the Provisional Legislative Council today (Wednesday): Madam President, I move that the United Nations Sanctions Bill be read the second time. The imposition of sanctions resulting from security and foreign relations considerations in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is the responsibility of the Central People's Government, our sovereign government. The implementation of UN sanctions is necessary in order to enable our sovereign government to honour its international obligations. It is also necessary to safeguard Hong Kong's reputation as a responsible trading and financial centre. It is necessary to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a conduit for those seeking to supply goods, services and finance to prohibited destinations and persons connected with them, as identified in UN Security Council decisions. The HKSAR does not have any domestic legislation enabling the Government to implement on its own UN sanctions. Previously sanctions arising from decisions made by the UN Security Council were implemented in Hong Kong through Orders in Council extended to Hong Kong by the United Kingdom. These orders lapsed at midnight 30 June 1997. Under Article 48(8) of the Basic Law, the Chief Executive shall implement directives issued by the Central People's Government (the CPG) in respect of relevant matters provided for in the Basic Law. This includes foreign affairs, which in turn cover UN sanctions. However, while a directive by the CPG is binding upon the Chief Executive, it will not per se empower him to give legislative effect to those sanctions by promulgation. Domestic legislation is required to enable the UN sanctions to be enforced locally. With the CPG's agreement, therefore, we propose to enact legislation which will empower the Chief Executive, upon instruction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the CPG, to make regulations to implement sanctions in the HKSAR against places outside the People's Republic of China arising from Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations. Madam President, I would like to draw Members' attention to Clause 3(5) of the Bill. The regulations to be made under the Bill, if passed, will not be subject to the negative vetting of this Council. This exceptional approach is justified because the matter of UN sanctions belongs to external affairs. Under the Basic Law, the HKSAR has no autonomy in external affairs but may only conduct them with the authorisation of the CPG. The proposed arrangement will ensure that the decision on whether to implement UN sanctions, and if so, the nature and scope of the sanctions, will remain with the CPG, while implementation of the sanctions within the HKSAR will be the responsibility of the HKSAR Government. I would like to assure Members that this approach is not a precedent for other matters within the HKSAR's autonomy provided by the Basic Law. The Chief Executive has recently received instructions from the CPG to take measures for implementing a number of specific UN sanctions in the HKSAR. As soon as the Bill is passed by this Council, therefore, the Chief Executive will, after having consulted the CPG, make the relevant regulations to carry out the directives received. Madam President, it is necessary to minimize the gap between the lapse of the previous measures to implement UN sanctions and the introduction of the replacement ones. It is also the express wish of the CPG to avoid a legal vacuum. Otherwise there could be attempts to use Hong Kong to circumvent UN sanctions. This would result in both a breach of the international obligation of our sovereign power and tarnishing Hong Kong's reputation as a responsible financial and trading centre. As I have just explained to this Council, the Bill is a legislative tool to effect directives within the prerogative of the CPG. I am sure that Members will co-operate with the Government to ensure the speedy passage of the Bill. Thank you, Madam President. End

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