Govt hosts electoral system briefings

March 31, 2021

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and principal government officials today met representatives from different sectors to explain the improvement to Hong Kong's electoral system to render their support.


The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress yesterday passed the amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law for improving the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's electoral system.


Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung met Legislative Council President Andrew Leung and other lawmakers at three briefing sessions to explain the improvements.


Mr Cheung stressed that improving the electoral system, ensuring "patriots administering Hong Kong" and safeguarding the overall interests of society are conducive to the stable development of Hong Kong's democracy.


Only through "patriots administering Hong Kong" can the central authorities' overall jurisdiction over the Hong Kong SAR be effectively implemented, the constitutional order established by the Constitution and the Basic Law be effectively safeguarded, various deep-seated problems be effectively resolved, and the long-term stability and safety of Hong Kong be achieved, he said.


Mr Cheung added that improving the electoral system would help LegCo restore its function as a platform for rational interaction between the executive authorities and the legislature, which will enhance the efficacy of governance.


The Chief Secretary pointed out that the number of lawmakers will increase from 70 to 90 and legislators returned by Election Committee, functional constituencies and geographical constituencies elections will make LegCo wider in coverage, more balanced, more diverse in views and more representative.


He hoped lawmakers would support the work on local legislation and pass the bill amending the relevant local electoral laws as early as practicable.


Financial Secretary Paul Chan met business sector representatives to explain the amendments at two briefing sessions, with a total of more than 30 representatives of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association in attendance.


Mr Chan noted that through improving the city's electoral system, the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" can be fully implemented with institutional safeguards and Hong Kong's political development can be back on track. 


"The executive authorities and the legislature can restore better interaction with the overall interests of Hong Kong as the core consideration, which can play a pivotal role in maintaining Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability," he added.


Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng met legal sector members at two briefing sessions to enable the stakeholders to have a better understanding of the amendments.


The amendments safeguarded the constitutional order set out by the Constitution and the Basic Law while enhancing Hong Kong's governance efficacy. As such, the "one country, two systems" principle will continue to be implemented steadfastly.


In addition to giving its full support to the Government's work to improve the electoral system as early as possible, the Department of Justice will provide explanations to the legal community on the importance, necessity and legality of the improvement to gain their staunch support.


Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau briefed representatives of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers' & Exporters' Association and the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong and highlighted the importance of improving the electoral system on creating a stable business environment and ensuring Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.


He called on the commercial and industrial sectors to fully support the relevant amendments.


Mr Yau stressed that establishing a political structure that upholds the "one country, two systems" principle reflects Hong Kong's actual situation and ensures "patriots administering Hong Kong" is the only way to fully safeguard the city's constitutional order established by the Constitution and the Basic Law, restore order from chaos, ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of "one country, two systems" and achieve the long-term stability and safety of Hong Kong.


He said by improving the electoral system, the excessive politicisation in society and the internal rifts that have torn Hong Kong apart can be effectively mitigated, thereby enhancing the governance capability of the Hong Kong SAR.


The city will then be able to focus on addressing economic and livelihood issues, and developing the economy to achieve long-term prosperity and stability through leveraging its unique advantages and the staunch support of the central authorities, Mr Yau added.


In the coming two weeks, he will conduct sessions to brief the sectors of industrial, small and medium enterprises, tourism, hotel, wholesale and retail, textiles and garment, telecommunications, broadcasting, film and performing arts, and publishing on the amendments.


Additionally, Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui held two briefing sessions for Heung Yee Kuk and religious leaders and representatives to elaborate on the necessity and urgency to improve the electoral system.


He said the improvements in the electoral system will establish a political structure that upholds the "one country, two systems" principle, ensures "patriots administering Hong Kong" and reflects the city's actual situation.


Mr Tsui noted that it will effectively enhance the Hong Kong SAR's governance capability, improve people's livelihood and ensure the city's long-term prosperity and stability.


The Home Affairs Bureau will spare no effort in taking forward the relevant work, he added.


Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang also chaired two briefing sessions to brief Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress and Hong Kong members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on their important roles under the new electoral system and the improvements’ background, concepts and main contents.


Mr Tsang said one of the key principles of the new electoral system is to broaden the representation of the Election Committee and the Legislative Council, and enhance the balanced and orderly political representation of the community as well as safeguarding the overall and fundamental interests of the society.


He pointed out that the improvements greatly enhanced the functions and roles of the Hong Kong members of relevant national organisations.


Noting that these organisations’ representatives have a more comprehensive understanding of the national affairs, Mr Tsang stressed that they have important roles to play in strengthening the elements of the country and integrating the national interests with Hong Kong's well-being.


He expressed hope that all attendees would fully support the work of improving the electoral system and continue to play conducive roles in supporting the implementation of executive-led governance structure of the Hong Kong SAR and helping the Government with implementing policies to enhance economic development and improve people's livelihood after the electoral system is improved.


Secretary for Innovation & Technology Alfred Sit held three briefing sessions for the innovation and technology sector to solicit their support for the amendments. More than 40 I&T related organisations attended the briefing sessions.


Mr Sit noted I&T development can promote diversified economic development and is of paramount importance to Hong Kong.


He also strongly believes that improving the electoral system can accord with Hong Kong's actual situation and can better attend to the overall interests of Hong Kong society, thereby removing the obstacles to economic and social development and restoring peace to the city.


It also creates a favourable environment for I&T development and drives the transformation of industries, making I&T a new impetus to promote economic development and improve people's livelihood, Mr Sit added.


The I&T chief said he will continue to engage the sector and listen to their opinions and strive for their full support for the Government's effort.

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