In the chief executive's own words ...

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 July, 2003, 12:00am

Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa gave his first public address yesterday since Tuesday's mass protest against Article 23. This is what he said:

I understand people's concerns about our legislative proposals on Basic Law Article 23. Those views were expressed in the demonstration on July 1.

Over the last couple of days, I have been meeting with the chief secretary for administration, the financial secretary and the secretary for justice and other principal officials, as well as others from the community. I have listened very carefully to the views expressed. I also held two special sessions of the Executive Council, one yesterday and one today.

I am weighing carefully the views that have been presented to me, the suggestions that have been made to me. I will let all of you know immediately when a decision is made.

I would like to reiterate that it is our duty as Chinese citizens, it is also a duty under the constitution, to legislate national security law in accordance with our Basic Law. It is also a very important part of our relationship with the central authorities. I would like, though, to give you the assurance, my reassurance, stated many times already, that this legislation will not affect the freedoms and the rights of Hong Kong people, those rights and freedoms we have traditionally enjoyed.