HK chief pledges universal suffrage for next leader
Updated: 2014-01-15 15:18
HONG KONG -- Hong Kong Chief Executive C Y Leung on Wednesday stressed that rule of law is vital for safeguarding people's rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, and reassured citizens that universal suffrage will be achieved in selecting the next leader in 2017 through an ongoing five-step process.
Leung made the remarks when delivering a 41-page policy address to lawmakers and citizens at the legislature of the Special Administrative Region (SAR). It was the second policy address since he took office in July 2012.
"The rule of law is vital for safeguarding our rights and freedoms. It is also the cornerstone for maintaining Hong Kong's status as an international financial and commercial center," Leung said, adding that the government would continue to comply fully with the requirements of the Basic Law, take necessary measures to further promote the Basic Law, progressively strengthen legal system and enhance the legal infrastructure.
"We will also uphold justice and core values such as human rights, clean governance, freedom and democracy," the chief executive said.
Leung said the government was committed to achieving the objective of selecting the chief executive by way of universal suffrage in 2017, through extensive public consultation and in strict compliance with the Basic Law and the Interpretation and Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.
The SAR government officially launched a public consultation last month on the methods for selecting the chief executive in 2017 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2016. Leung said the government would collate the views received and commence the " Five-step Process" of constitutional development.
To maintain quality and efficient administration, Leung said the government must rely on a professional, clean and dedicated civil service.
"I will continue to maintain close and candid communication with Hong Kong's civil servants, listen to their views and enhance our mutual understanding and mutual trust," he said.
Leung promised that the government would provide more training opportunities, health care and other welfare for civil servants. " We will encourage and provide subsidies for them to attend training courses and exchange programs to deepen their understanding of national development."