temporary suspension of the extradition bill, journalists asked her repeatedly if she owes the people of Hong Kong an apology. No apology was forthcoming.t Saturday’s press conference where chief executive Carrie Lam announced the
Just 24 hours later, after a record turnout at yet another mass rally on Sunday, an apology of sorts finally came…. in the form of a press statement by an unnamed government spokesperson.
The statement was issued at 9.26pm on the government website:
In response to the public procession today (June 16), a Government spokesman said the following:
Over the past two Sundays, a large number of people have expressed their views during public processions. The Government understands that these views have been made out of love and care for Hong Kong.
The Chief Executive clearly heard the views expressed in a peaceful and rational manner. She acknowledged that this embodied the spirit of Hong Kong as a civilised, free, open and pluralistic society that values mutual respect, harmony and diversity. The Government also respects and treasures these core values of Hong Kong.
Having regard to the strong and different views in society, the Government has suspended the legislative amendment exercise at the full Legislative Council with a view to restoring calmness in society as soon as possible and avoiding any injuries to any persons. The Government reiterated that there is no timetable for restarting the process.
The Chief Executive admitted that the deficiencies in the Government’s work had led to substantial controversies and disputes in society, causing disappointment and grief among the people. The Chief Executive apologised to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledged to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public.
It was not lost on observers that this half-hearted apology appeared to be more the work of a disinterested public relations executive, and less of a sincere, heartfelt apology by the leader of a city of 7 million.
One need only compare Lam’s statement with the one made by former chief executive Donald Tsang in the wake of the 2003 protests to see the difference.
No first-person apology was posted to Lam’s official social media accounts.
Compare chief sec. Donald Tsang’s comments after 2003 protests (2 months later) with Carrie Lam today. HK govt speaks in different voice now pic.twitter.com/rNLjsQ79to
— Ben Bland (@benjaminbland) June 16, 2019
News of Carrie Lam’s apology was met with jeers at a night rally put together by protest organizers Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF).
Jimmy Sham, convenor of CHRF, reiterated the five demands of protestors:
- the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill
- a full accounting of the police brutality on Wednesday
- the release of all arrested in the mass protests over the last week
- the retraction of the characterisation of the clashes on Wednesday as a “riot”
- and the resignation of the chief executive
The failure to do so, Sham said, would lead to continued protests and demonstrations in upcoming weeks.
Sham’s sentiment was echoed by pro-democracy legislators such as James To of the Democratic Party. “Carrie Lam has no credibility,” he said. “How can she reconcile with the people now?”
Democratic Party lawmaker James To said he would not accept the gov'ts apology: “Carrie Lam has no credibility,” he said. “How can she reconcile with the people now?” He added Lam must resign or residents may have to march every week.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) June 16, 2019
Meanwhile, Ray Chan of People Power decided to abandon all pretence of civility as he excoriated the chief executive. “Oh Bitch. Who apologize in the third person?” he fumed on Twitter. “Are you the Queen? Regina Carrie Primera?
“A strike and a vigil to honor the fallen continue,” he added. “Hongkongers have had enough of your crap.”
Oh Bitch. Who apologize in the third person? The Chief Executive heard… She acknowledged… Are you the Queen? Regina Carrie Primera? A strike and a vigil to honor the fallen continue. #Hongkongers have had enough of your crap. https://t.co/6hpPIxBg8r
— Ray Chan (@ray_slowbeat) June 16, 2019