CMAB and HYAB update association representatives on proposals for enhancing district-level governance

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2nd June 2023 – (Hong Kong) Since the announcement of proposals for improving district governance on 2nd May, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Erick Tsang Kwok-wai, and the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Miss Alice Mak, have been actively promoting the plans to various sectors. On 2nd June, the two officials explained the proposals to representatives of the New Territories Association of Societies and the Federation of Hong Kong Shenzhen Associations, engaging in in-depth discussions and exchanges with them.

Mr Tsang and Miss Mak noted that the majority of the public supports the proposals and endorses the three guiding principles: national security as the topmost priority, full and faithful implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle, and the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. They emphasised the importance of executive-led governance in the district level, highlighting the need for firm control and strong service teams to increase community mobilisation.

The officials also mentioned that the reformed District Councils (DCs) would revert to their original positioning as district advisory and service organisations in accordance with Article 97 of the Basic Law. The proposals aim to enable the government to coordinate district work more effectively, enhance the efficacy of district governance, and address people’s daily concerns, thereby increasing their sense of contentment and happiness and leading to a more patriotic society that fully supports the administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.

Association representatives in attendance expressed enthusiasm and provided constructive views on strengthening the district governance structure. The officials noted that the two associations are reliable working partners of the government and hoped that they would continue to explain and promote the advantages of the proposals to the public through various means, deepening the community’s understanding of the plans and mobilising society to work together for district governance reform.

The District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2023 has been introduced into the Legislative Council (LegCo) for the First Reading and the Second Reading. The government plans to facilitate the scrutiny of the LegCo and solicit support for the early passage of the Bill from Members of the LegCo, so the DC Ordinary Election can be held at the end of this year. The seventh-term DCs can then assume office on January 1 as scheduled.

The proposals for improving governance at the district level have been a topic of intense debate and controversy in Hong Kong. Critics have raised concerns about the potential impact on democracy and local autonomy, while proponents argue that the reforms are necessary to maintain stability and ensure national security. The government’s efforts to engage with different sectors and explain the proposals demonstrate a commitment to transparency and communication, which is essential for building trust and support for any major policy changes.ShareLikeDislikeTell me more.What are some of the criticisms of the proposals for improving governance at the district level?How has the public responded to the proposals for improving governance at the district level?What are some of the potential benefits of the proposed reforms to district governance?