US embassy cable - 05STATE200834

THE SECRETARY'S OCTOBER 28 MEETING WITH HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE DONALD TSANG

Identifier: 05STATE200834
Wikileaks: View 05STATE200834 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 2005-11-01 01:00:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL ECON PGOV HK CH
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 010100Z NOV 05
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMCONSUL HONG KONG IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 
AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU IMMEDIATE 
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 200834 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2030 
TAGS: PREL, ECON, PGOV, HK, CH 
SUBJECT: THE SECRETARY'S OCTOBER 28 MEETING WITH HONG KONG 
CHIEF EXECUTIVE DONALD TSANG 
 
Classified by EAP Acting Assistant Secretary Kathleen 
Stephens, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: The Secretary and Hong Kong Chief 
Executive Donald Tsang exchanged views on the importance 
of democratic reform during their October 28 meeting. The 
Secretary said that the United States understood that 
Beijing placed constraints on Hong Kong but observed that 
people come naturally to democracy. Democratic 
governments do not take long to develop, she said, 
particularly in a sophisticated society such as Hong Kong. 
Tsang pointed out that universal suffrage is the Hong Kong 
government's ultimate goal, to which he was personally 
committed. But, he persisted; discussions about the means 
toward that end would take time. End Summary. 
 
2. (C) The Secretary discussed Hong Kong's democratic 
reforms with Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang 
October 28 during a 30 minute meeting. 
 
Universal Suffrage 
------------------ 
3. (C) Tsang gave a positive review of Hong Kong's 
prospects, noting that the economy is expected to grow 
5.5% in 2005 as a consequence of rapid development of the 
China market and Hong Kong's success as a financial 
center. He said Hong Kong's success also reflected the 
success of "One Country, Two Systems," in that Hong Kong's 
attributes -- the rule of law, clean government, 
independent courts, freedom of information, etc. -- have 
been preserved. Indeed, according to Tsang, the exercise 
of personal freedoms is in many respects broader today 
than before Hong Kong's reversion to Chinese sovereignty 
in 1997. Tsang noted, however, that there were certain 
limitations on Hong Kong's autonomy, such as in the areas 
of foreign affairs and national defense. Hong Kong also 
could not change its form of government without consulting 
with Beijing. The Chief Executive briefed the Secretary 
on his government's October 19 plan for expanding 
democratic representation. He said that any plan to 
change the form of government would need approval of the 
Hong Kong Legislative Council by two-thirds majority vote, 
the Chief Executive, and Beijing. 
 
(C) The Secretary told Tsang that the United States had 
understood that the 1997 reversion would bring 
restrictions - such as on foreign affairs and national 
defense. However, she said there is inherent tension 
between the need to have Beijing's assent for democratic 
reform and the desire of the people for freedom of 
political expression and democracy. Tsang argued that 
Hong Kong's democratic institutions were not well 
developed and Hong Kong needed time to plan a course for 
greater democracy. The Secretary emphasized that people 
come naturally to democracy and that democratic 
governments do not take long to develop, particularly in a 
sophisticated society such as Hong Kong. She took the 
example of Afghanistan, which is much behind Hong Kong in 
terms of economic development but which has been able very 
quickly to establish democracy because of the desire of 
the people. 
 
(C)  The Secretary said that she recognized Tsang had 
recently come into office, and she hoped Tsang would 
advance the process on universal suffrage.   Tsang said he 
was consulting widely and starting a dialogue on broader 
reform.  He said that Hong Kong would find a solution for 
itself: how to achieve the goal of universal suffrage and 
how to deal with Beijing in that process. He reiterated, 
however, that the broad consultations required to map out 
a plan would take time. The Secretary pressed Tsang, 
emphasizing that people come naturally to democracy, and 
that she hoped Tsang would continue to work on this. 
 
Bilateral Cooperation and Economic Issues 
----------------------------------------- 
 
(C) Wrapping up the meeting the Secretary noted that Hong 
Kong was to host a very important WTO Ministerial meeting 
at the end of the year. Both she and Tsang agreed that we 
need a successful conclusion to the Doha Agenda. Tsang 
said that he hoped the U.S. proposal on agriculture would 
bring positive results. Tsang added that Hong Kong was 
making all appropriate security arrangements both inside 
and outside the venues. Tsang observed that U.S. - Hong 
Kong relations continued to be close, with cooperation on 
the Container Security Initiative, avian influenza and 
security cooperation a few examples of our close ties. 
The Secretary thanked Hong Kong for close cooperation on 
avian influenza in particular. In closing, Tsang briefed 
the Secretary on a recent, precedent-setting internet 
piracy conviction in Hong Kong ad said that Hong Kong was 
in the forefront of working with China to improve China's 
IPR protections. 
 
(U) Participants: 
 
U.S. 
 
The Secretary 
EAP Senior Advisor James Keith 
US Consul General to Hong Kong James Cunningham 
S- Steve Beecroft 
PA - Sean McCormack 
EAP/CM - Kaye Lee (notetaker) 
 
 
Hong Kong 
 
Chief Executive Donald Tsang 
Information Services Yvonne Choi 
HKETO Commissioner Jackie Willis 
HKETO Deputy Margaret Fong 
CE Private Secretary Jessie Ting 
CE Media Assistant Donald Chen 
 
 
RICE 

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