Press here to Skip to the main content
Font Size
Default Font Size Larger Font Size Largest Font Size RSS Subscription Advanced Search Sitemap Mobile/Accessible Version 繁體 简体

Gov’t suspends student talks

October 09, 2014


Chief Secretary Carrie Lam

The Chief Executive announced on October 2 that he has appointed the Task Force on Constitutional Development led by me to enter into discussions with the Hong Kong Federation of Students on the sole subject of constitutional development, as they have requested.


Since then, I have tasked Lau Kong-wah, the Under Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs, and his colleagues to hold preparatory talks with the Hong Kong Federation of Students representatives on three occasions.


Though some issues relating to arranging the first meeting between the Task Force and the Hong Kong Federation of Students remain outstanding, I did look forward to a constructive dialogue with the student representatives. However, with much regret, based on the public remarks made by the student representatives over these two days, especially this afternoon, I realised that the basis for a constructive dialogue between us and the students has been seriously undermined. I truly regret that we will not be able to have a meeting tomorrow which will produce any constructive outcome.


The basis for a constructive dialogue, as we have understood it, comprises two important points. First, any discussions on Hong Kong's constitutional development must be conducted within the constitutional framework laid down in the Basic Law and the relevant decisions of the National People's Congress Standing Committee. In its August 31 decision, the NPCSC has given us a clear constitutional and legal framework for implementing universal suffrage in the selection of the Chief Executive from the year 2017. These essential constitutional principles must be observed by all of us in taking the matter forward.


Secondly, the Occupy Central protests, now into their 12th day, have already caused a lot of disruption to the daily life of Hong Kong people, and significant loss to businesses. These unlawful activities must end as soon as possible. In the past few days, we have tried to persuade protesters to reopen some of the key roads, such as Queensway, but without success. I urge protesters to take into account public interest and retreat from the occupied sites immediately. It is therefore misleading and not acceptable to Government for these talks between the Task Force and the students to be linked to whether and when the protests would stop, and, worse still, to be deployed as an excuse for Occupy Central organisers to incite more people to join the process.


That said, we remain sincere towards these discussions and we hope to arrive at a better basis for conducting constructive dialogue with the student representatives in due course. But I must stress that constitutional development is a highly complex and sensitive matter which will require time, patience, wisdom and pragmatism to build a broad consensus amongst various stakeholders with differences in opinions, including our young people. And this has to be done within the parameters of the Basic Law and the relevant National People's Congress Standing Committee decisions under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.


Chief Secretary Carrie Lam gave these remarks at a media briefing on October 9.