Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks by SLW on confined space works

Transcript of remarks by SLW on confined space works

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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, on the prevention of accident in confined space works at a media session after attending a radio programme this morning (January 27):

Reporter: Secretary, about labour safety, as you said the Code of Practice will be issued for those working in confined space, when will this be issued? How effective do you hope this will increase the safety?

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Our plan is to promulgate the revised “Code of Practice – Safety and Health at Work in Confined Spaces” within the first half of this year. This is our work plan. Right now, we have completed consultation with the stakeholders. We are looking at ways to refine and finalise the Code. One of the key changes to be made in the Code is to make use of technology. One idea, we think it is quite possible, is to require the installation of cameras at the entrance in confined spaces. Through cameras, there is literally no incentive for those working in confined spaces to cut corners, because all the entrances, their behaviour and equipment will be fully recorded by camera. By this way, we hope they will be able to make sure that people have every incentive to comply with all the safety requirements for working in confined spaces.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Hong Kong – Opening remarks by CS at UNHRC Universal Periodic Review Working Group meeting

Opening remarks by CS at UNHRC Universal Periodic Review Working Group meeting (with photo)

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     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Chan Kwok-ki, attended the meeting of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, today (January 23, Geneva time). The Working Group examined China’s fourth report, which includes a part concerning the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), submitted under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UNHRC.
      
     Mr Chan, as Deputy Head of China’s delegation, attended the meeting together with officials of the HKSAR Government as members of China’s delegation. Following are the opening remarks made by Mr Chan on the human rights situation of the HKSAR at the meeting:
 
Mr President,
 
     Since the establishment of the HKSAR in 1997, the principle of “one country, two systems” has been the cornerstone of our long-term prosperity and stability. This successful national policy ensures that our unique strengths are maintained, while serving the fundamental interests of our country.
      
     With the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law and an improved electoral system, the days of social disturbance and fear are now over. Stability as well as law and order has been restored, and our city is back on track. Our people can continue to enjoy the legitimate rights and freedoms guaranteed by our country’s Constitution, the Basic Law, as well as the relevant provisions of international covenants that apply to Hong Kong.
      
     The rule of law is a cornerstone and core value of Hong Kong’s success. Our common law system and independent exercise of judicial power are protected by the Basic Law. Our judiciary is well regarded internationally. Being a market-oriented, open and international economy underpinned by the rule of law, Hong Kong has exactly what it takes to be a successful global city.
      
     At the same time, we are dedicated to making our city a better place for everyone. Through targeted policies in various areas such as housing, child and youth development, healthcare, and economic development, we strive to foster a cohesive and caring community underpinned by a vibrant economy.
      
     Mr President, with the unwavering support from our country and the unique “one country, two systems” formula, Hong Kong will continue to prosper as the city where the global advantage and the China advantage converge. Thank you. 

Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks by SHYA at media session

Transcript of remarks by SHYA at media session

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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Miss Alice Mak, at a media session after attending a radio programme today (January 6):
 
Reporter: Some District Councils have been proposing measures such as night markets, check-in spots. How much would these help the local economy and also how would you respond to scholars comments that these ideas are somewhat similar and would lead to an overlap of resources?
 
Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs: When you visit the community, what we always listen and get views from residents are that they want more activities and district-based events to be held in the community. They want to see a vibrant and energetic community. I think this is also a way to enhance the sense of belongings of our residents in the community. That is why the seventh term District Councils in their first meetings, they have proposed different ideas in organising various district-based activities in different districts. They are aiming to provide chances and opportunities for our residents to gather together to enjoy the festive atmosphere and boost up district-based economy. I think this will definitely help stimulate consumption in the district and help the business in the community.
 
     Some may say that the nature of the activities are somewhat similar, but when you look into the list of activities, some are already well-established ones or have a long history of organising such activities in the community, like the traditional dragon dances during the Tin Hau festival or some traditional ceremonies during traditional festivals. The aim of the District Councils in organising these activities is to enhance publicity and to organise such activities in a more systematic and well established way, so that the community will learn about the already well-organised activities in various districts. As you can see from the list, some activities fall into the period of some traditional festive activities’ timing, and they are quite similar, but this will not hinder the participation from the community, rather, we can provide more chances and information about all these activities for our residents from different districts to choose a more convenient place or a more well-organised place to go. We are providing more choices for our residents and these activities themselves are not mutually exclusive. We are not saying that when some districts have already organised an activity or event, the other districts could not organise similar ones. We want to have an inclusive list and provide more alternatives and activities for our residents to enjoy during various festivals.
 
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks at media session on cross-boundary transport arrangements for large-scale events (with video)

Transcript of remarks at media session on cross-boundary transport arrangements for large-scale events (with video)

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     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Chan Kwok-ki; the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung; the Secretary for Security, Mr Tang Ping-keung; and the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Mr Lam Sai-hung, met the media after an interdepartmental meeting this afternoon (January 2) on cross-boundary transport arrangements for large-scale events. Following is the transcript of remarks of the media session:
 
Reporter: Will the Government publicly apologise for the inconvenience caused to those affected tourists? How many people do you expect from the Mainland to come to Hong Kong for the Lunar New Year, especially for the fireworks? What are the arrangements to avoid similar chaos from happening again? Can you give us some examples? Is the Government concerned about the incident will harm Hong Kong’s image, given the former city leader’s recent criticism of the tourist authority’s lack of proactive measures to attract Mainland tourists? This time, they were the ones who were upset and affected.
 
Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism: On the attractions for tourists, you will be aware that in the past years, we have been upgrading a lot of our tourist attractions, including the theme parks, peak tram and a number of cultural facilities that are now opened to our tourists and become very important attractions.
 
     We have been organising a number of major events as well, such as the fireworks, the Wine and Dine (Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival). There will be some more coming up during the Chinese New Year, including a parade as well as fireworks. So, I think we are still a very attractive destination for tourists. As reflected in some of the surveys conducted in the past two or three weeks, Hong Kong remains a very welcome tourist spot for the Mainland tourists.
 
     We are expecting that there will be quite a number of tourists coming during the Chinese New Year. Before the pandemic, the Chinese New Year is one of the peak periods when there are a large number of tourists from the Mainland coming over. So, we will be taking measures and initiatives, together with some of the new measures that our colleagues have mentioned to tackle the issue regarding the returning of Mainland tourists to the Mainland after attending major events.
 
     But the Chinese New Year may be a little bit different, because that will be a longer holiday on the Mainland. It is possible that Mainland tourists will likely be spending more time in Hong Kong as well. That said, we learn from this time and we are taking new measures. We will do all we can and spend our efforts to make sure that to our Mainland tourists, if they decide to return to the Mainland after some major events, the arrangement will be more satisfactory.
 
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks by CE at media session after reporting to President Xi Jinping (with photos/videos)

Transcript of remarks by CE at media session after reporting to President Xi Jinping (with photos/videos)

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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at a media session in Beijing after reporting to President Xi Jinping on work on December 18:
 
Reporter: Hello Mr Lee. Two questions. We all know that Hong Kong is facing a budget deficit of more than 100 billion Hong Kong dollars, and coupled with the weak local consumption and property downturns. How do you persuade and convince Beijing and also Hong Kong people that Hong Kong could pursue a brighter future as President Xi hopes for? And the second question is, as Jimmy Lai’s case began today, the US, the UK, the EU and the UN all expressed concerns about the case. Anything the Hong Kong Government could do to allay their concerns, that could undermine investors or business interest in coming over to Hong Kong? Thank you.
 
Chief Executive: Hong Kong, like any other cities in the world, is facing the same economic challenges, high interest rate risk and geopolitical tension. We are part of the world, so we are facing the same risk and same crisis, but we are also lucky that under the “one country, two systems”, we have many opportunities that other cities may not enjoy. First of all, Hong Kong is the only city in the world that enjoys both our country’s advantages and also international advantages. We also, as Hong Kong itself, have a lot of strengths which are our DNA, and we have been building a bigger economy of Hong Kong by strengthening our competitiveness, which includes attracting more talent, attracting more strategic enterprises to station and start working in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also developing new markets, emerging markets, and we are focusing on regional co-operation. What it means is that we have advantages because of being a special administrative region of our country, and our country has a lot of opportunities that we can make good use of. We must make good use of these opportunities, that include the National 14th Five-Year Plan which gives us the “eight centres” positioning. We also have the GBA (Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area) which is an opportunity for Hong Kong to contribute to and also benefit from. We also participate in the Belt and Road Initiative which gives us opportunities. We have very good professional services, including architects, lawyers, surveyors, bankers and financiers.
 
     So far, our measures to attract talent and enterprises have been bring good results. We have been able to meet our two-year target in one year, in other words, with one year’s target of attracting 35 000 talent, we actually have some 70 000 talent already arrived in Hong Kong within one year. We have already attracted 30 major enterprises which are going to invest 30 billion Hong Kong dollars in the coming future and they will be creating 10 000 jobs. What it means is that, yes we face challenges, but we also have opportunities and advantages that no other cities can enjoy. We will capitalise on our strengthens, make good use of the opportunities and also will be creating a safe and stable environment for Hong Kong to start and build our economic development, and we are expanding our network by going out of Hong Kong to different parts of the world. That is how we will create a bigger cake for the overall Hong Kong. We should be thinking of both opportunities and threats, but should be confident of what we can do and have confidence in Hong Kong people who have been able to strive through different challenges.
 
     In regard to the current trial in Hong Kong, I think Hong Kong has a long tradition of the rule of law, and Hong Kong courts always adjudicate cases fairly and impartially. Nobody should attempt to interfere with the court process. Nobody should try to interfere with court adjudicating cases based on evidence and facts, and nobody should try to do anything to exert pressure simply because of their political motive or political gain and try to influence outcomes of court cases or attempt to pervert the course of justice. Cases should be adjudicated on the basis of evidence and facts. I have full confidence in our courts adjudicating cases fairly and impartially.
 
Reporter: How has the Central Government responded to you finishing the security legislation of the Article 23 of the Basic Law by 2024? How would your administration deal with the potential pressure from either the undercurrent within the Hong Kong society or what’s been called the foreign interfering forces?
 
Chief Executive: I have said in my Policy Address which was recently announced that I have set a deadline for Article 23 to be enacted locally within 2024. It is our constitutional duty. It is an obligation we have not been fulfilling for over 20-odd years since 1997, since the promulgation of the Basic Law. I think Hong Kong people, as a result of the pain, the hardship and the destruction of Hong Kong they experienced, they are convinced that an effective law to protect national security is important. I think that consensus has been built because Hong Kong people who lived through the dark time and the pain and difficulties in 2019 will be fully convinced that they don’t want to repeat that tragic and horrific experience. They want an effective law to protect national security.
 
     The Government of course will have to explain thoroughly and clearly to people in Hong Kong, and also to the international community, that Hong Kong is no different from any cities and jurisdictions in the world, that will need law to protect its national security, so we are no different. When people try to break into our houses, we only want to have good locks. We just want to do that. So if we don’t go out and you don’t break into my house, then everything will be fine. But when somebody tries to break into my house, that is only natural that I should ensure the locks are effective. That is exactly what Basic Law Article 23 wants Hong Kong to do, and that is what I want Hong Kong to do as well under my constitutional duty.
 
     I have been asking the responsible bureaux and departments to examine and make reference to laws of other jurisdictions, because if those laws exist in other countries’ statute books, that means they are effective and acceptable to be used to protect the respective country’s national security. So we will be making reference to those jurisdictions, particularly the common law jurisdictions, for those (laws) we think are applicable to Hong Kong, then we may make reference to them. Some we don’t think are applicable, of course, we may or may not use them. But I think the eventual law that is enacted will be very similar to the national security laws of most jurisdictions and that they will be complying with international standards that protect human rights. The two international standards that protect human rights are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These two covenants, as applied to Hong Kong, will apply to Hong Kong, and is applying to Hong Kong under the Basic Law. Since the promulgation of the Basic Law, the 160 articles have not changed at all. Not a single word. All these international standards that protect human rights will apply to and will be applicable in all cases that involve national security or otherwise, because when courts adjudicate cases, they have to make reference to these two international covenants as they are applied to Hong Kong. So we are conforming with international standards to protect human rights, and that is something I will be telling people about.
 
Reporter: About the new arrangements this time, because you have met with President Xi, the Premier and some more leaders. Do you think that means the Central Government is paying more attention to Hong Kong affairs? And how will you and the Government correspond with this? Thank you.
 
Chief Executive: President Xi, together with three standing members of the Politburo Standing Committee, met with me. This reflects their high regard of Hong Kong and how they place Hong Kong people close to their hearts. The Chief Executive has a duty to make report to the Central Government annually in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. I am very dutiful to comply with the arrangement, so as to ensure that the system for the Chief Executive to report to the Central People’s Government is conducted as the Central Government wishes in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law.
 
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)