HONG KONG, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong SAR government would respect the rights of the city's residents to take part in the procession and their freedom of expression, and would listen to their views in a humble manner, said a government spokesman in response to the procession in Hong Kong on Thursday.
A throng of Hong Kong citizens, setting off from the Victoria park on the Hong Kong Island at around 3 p.m. local time, staged a procession to voice their demands in political development, minimum wage legislation and labor rights, among others.
The crowd, heading to the Hong Kong SAR government headquarters, were estimated at around 20,000 people at the peak, the city's police said.
Hong Kong's Legislative Council has passed the amendments to the methods for the selection of the Chief Executive and for the formation of the Legislative Council in 2012, which was a sign of democratic development, said the spokesman.
The HKSAR government, fully appreciating the concern of the community about the issue of universal suffrage, "has reiterated that the future universal suffrage models must comply with the relevant requirements of the Basic Law and the principles of equality and universality," said the spokesman.
"We hope that, in the next few years, the Hong Kong community can adopt a rational, pragmatic and accommodating attitude to forge consensus on the implementation of universal suffrage," he added.
Referring to the livelihood-related demands raised by the demonstrators, the spokesman said the objective of legislating for a minimum wage was to devise an optimal statutory minimum wage regime which could forestall excessively low wages without unduly affecting labor market flexibility, economic growth and competitiveness.
"The Provisional Minimum Wage Commission is now working at full steam in deliberating the initial minimum wage rate for recommendation to the government before the end of this summer. In the process, it will make reference to the statistical data collected by the Census and Statistics Department and stakeholders ' views gathered during the consultation period," he added.