half-hearted apology written in the third person and issued in the form of a press statement by an unnamed government spokesperson, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has apologized in person.fter getting roundly pooh-poohed for offering a
The 62-year-old leader ditched her usual cheongsamand opted for a business suit in her press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
In her remarks, Lam characterized protestors as “people who love Hong Kong” who took part in public processions in a “peaceful and rational manner”, a major climbdown from her earlier description of protests as an “organized riot”.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) June 18, 2019
Her full statement below:
During large-scale public processions over the past two Sundays, people have expressed in a peaceful and rational manner their concerns about the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and their dissatisfaction and disappointment with the Government – especially me. I have heard you loud and clear, and have reflected deeply on all that has transpired.
The concerns over the past few months have been caused by deficiencies in the work of the SAR (Special Administrative Region) Government over the amendment exercise. I personally have to shoulder much of the responsibility. This has led to controversies, disputes and anxieties in society. For this I offer my most sincere apology to all people of Hong Kong.
Some of those who joined the processions, as well as my police colleagues who maintained law and order, and media workers covering the incidents were injured in the conflicts. I am very saddened by this.
During the several processions, we saw many people who love Hong Kong taking to the streets to make their views known to the Government. Parents took part for the sake of the next generation. Some who usually remain silent, and many young people, felt the need to express their opinions. I understand these feelings.
To those young people who participated peacefully to express their views, let me say I understand you expect your Chief Executive to listen to different voices, and to respect and care for young people. “Connecting with Young People” was one of my commitments in the Election Manifesto. I know that we all want Hong Kong to be a caring and well-governed society with hope. I know you have different concerns and views about social issues, yet we share the same passion for Hong Kong. This incident has led me to realise that I need to do more.
I have never spared any effort to serve the public, but this incident has made me realise, as the Chief Executive, I’ve still got much to learn and do in better balancing diverse interest, in listening more to all walks of life, in taking our society forward.
I truly hope that those injured can fully recover soon, and that the rift in society could be quickly mended. Hong Kong is our home. It is only by walking together as one community and by staying closely connected that we can bring hope for Hong Kong.
Thank you very much.
Reporters later found stacks of tissue left at the stand where the chief executive was speaking. Was she preparing to cry?
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) June 18, 2019
The Civil Rights Human Front, which organized the protests over the last two weeks, has rejected Carrie Lam’s apology which they say did not address the issues that they raised earlier.
To recap, their five demands are:
- 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
Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front, organisers of million- strong marches, say they reject Carrie Lam’s apology pic.twitter.com/FOG9iZdA4B
— Kirsty Needham (@KirstyLNeedham) June 18, 2019
But, as others have noted, China isn’t about to let Carrie Lam step down just yet, because to allow that to happen would allow a whole other can of worms to open.
— CNA (@ChannelNewsAsia) June 17, 2019
For the same reason, any announcement of the complete withdrawal of the bill appears unlikely. As one pro-establishment legislator tells Kristie Lu Stout of CNN, a “suspension” of the bill is no different from a “withdrawal” of the bill.
Addressing key #HongKongProtest demands with pro-establishment lawmaker Tommy Cheung.
— Kristie Lu Stout✌🏽 (@klustout) June 17, 2019
Critics are also skewering Lam for not offering the same 90-degree bow that she gave to the 1,200 members of the Election Committee that chose her for the top job in 2017.
Meanwhile, eagle-eyed netizens have found that the report form for the Complaints Against Police Office appears has been taken offline just moments after Lam expressed confidence in existing mechanisms for reporting police misconduct.
Awkward, just after Carrie Lam publicly expressed confidence in the established mechanisms for reporting police misconduct, the online report form for the Complaints Against Police Office is leading users to…404 Page Not Found https://t.co/Na968kFD1m pic.twitter.com/HiBdByjI0q
— Aaron Mc Nicholas (@aaronMCN) June 18, 2019