Monday, December 9, 2013, 11:16
Youth can be optimistic about HK’s future: CE
By Kahon Chan in Hong Kong

No one could undermine public order or break the law, Leung says

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said young people can be optimistic about the future as long as Hong Kong did not suffer unnecessary social unrest from political activists. He also stressed that society meant everybody — not just a minority of people voicing “radical views”.

The Chief Executive attended two public forums on Saturday and Sunday to listen to the public views on the Policy Address, which will be delivered on Jan 15, 2014, and for the budget planned for February.

At the Sunday forum held in Tai Kok Tsui, Leung promised to offer young people more education and job opportunities. But the city ultimately needed a robust economy to help young people, he added.

“Developments in the society are of the utmost importance. Our economy needs growth,” he said. “We have the right conditions and as long as we reduce unnecessary internal frictions and act faster, including the actions of the government, our youth will remain hopeful.”

Leung’s remarks came a day after Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah had eggs thrown at him by opposition activists at the Saturday forum. The Chief Executive said after the forum that police would investigate the incident.

Security appeared to have been heightened at the Sunday venue. The police escorted 13 activists away — including one who attempted to throw water bombs disguised as tomatoes.

Leung said that while the people in Hong Kong were free to express different views, no one could undermine public order — or break the law. Government officials would not stop meeting the public because of protests, he stressed.

“Our progress towards democracy will … let everyone cast their ballots, and also include consultation seminars,” he said. “As we exercise our democratic rights, I hope we respect other people’s rights to express views and observe order.”

He said he was confident 7 million people would be able to make the most of these new opportunities and build a bright future for Hong Kong.

Leung also said his administration was committed to implementing political reforms in a step-by-step manner, adding that some progress had already been made.

He said the government was happy to be inviting public views on how to organize the first election of the Chief Executive under universal suffrage. Leung said this goal, set out in the Basic Law, would also benefit Hong Kong’s governance.

Also on Sunday, Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor clarified recent remarks she made on the “legitimacy” of the Chief Executive in a TV interview.

“As we all know, every Chief Executive is certainly legitimate as he is chosen by electoral system of that time,” she said. “I am deeply convinced that from a system perspective, a Chief Executive chosen by universal suffrage shall enjoy greater legitimacy. That probably will benefit governance.”