Council Meetings (Oral Question): March on 1 July(2013.07.17)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): Many members of the public are highly concerned about the number of participants in the 1 July march, and a number of media organizations also pointed out on the following day that if the organizer released a figure which was way too exaggerated, it would lead to the question of integrity. The number of participants in the 1 July march this year was also quoted during the motion debate in the Legislative Council on 3 July. During the motion debate, some pan-democrats who were more objective said there were “tens of thousands” of people, while a number of Members kept saying there were 430 000 participants. May I ask whether the police will hold negotiations with the organizers on the counting method and jointly release the number of participants, so as to ensure greater credibility of the figures, thereby reassuring members of the public?

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY (in Cantonese): The police do not have such a plan because there are large numbers of procession activities every day. In fact, it is impossible for us to co-ordinate with each organizer. Besides, regarding this type of large-scale activities, it is rather difficult for the two sides to agree on how to count the number of participants. Even in the examples cited by me earlier, the two academic institutions concerned each adopted a different computation method, and different results were yielded.

Hence, I consider that instead of making efforts on this issue, it will be better for us to hold thorough discussions with the organizers ― we have been doing so all the time ― on the routes of processions and various major arrangements. Such an approach is much more meaningful. In fact, irrespective of the number of marchers, the only purpose of participants will always be the voicing of their different aspirations. In my view, the more important thing is how we are going to consider and respond to their aspirations after listening carefully to them.

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