CHINA> Democracy
Right to freedom of expression respected
Updated: 2007-07-01 23:01

HONG KONG -- In response to a procession with some 20,000 participants raising different concerns on Sunday afternoon, a spokesman of the Hong Kong Special Economic Region ( HKSAR) government said that the HKSAR government fully respected people's rights to take part in procession and their freedom of expression.

The procession started at about 2:00 p.m. from Victoria Park and concluded at the Government Secretariat before 7:00 p.m. The organizers said the main demand raised by participants in the procession was universal suffrage, but participants also put forward other concerns, including legislation for minimum wage level, and rights for animals. An old man said he took to the street because of high medicare spending.

Responding to the demands of the procession, the spokesman said that the government would soon publish a green paper on constitutional development and that this would be followed by a three-month public consultation and a summing-up of the public opinions.

The spokesman also said that the new-term government will reach out to the community and enhance communications with the general public so that they could embrace public sentiment and respond more effectively to the needs of Hong Kong people.

During the procession, police closed some downtown streets traffic to provide convenience for the participants. According to statistics by the police, about 20,000 people participated in the procession.

In the morning, more than 20,000 people joined another procession to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

In the evening, Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents and tourists enjoyed fireworks display which started at 8:00 p.m., also a part of the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return.