See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Politics

Hong Kong leader apologises for protest response

I offer my most sincere apology to all the people of Hong Kong: Chief Executive Carrie Lam.


Written by

Updated: June 19, 2019

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam offered her personal apology to every Hong Konger for her inadequacies in handling the extradition Bill saga, saying the incident has made her realise she needs to do better, to hear people out and to work harder to balance the view of the people.

Mrs Lam told a press conference, which started at 4pm on Tuesday (June 18) and lasted for nearly an hour, that she will not restart the legislative process of the extradition Bill as long as the conflict in society is not resolved.

“I have heard you loud and clear and have reflected deeply on what has transpired,” Mrs Lam said.

Mrs Lam, who wore an off-white suit, said she is saddened by the fact that some people were injured in the protests.

I WANT ANOTHER CHANCE: LAM

In a sign that Mrs Lam will not step down, she said that she and her team will work doubly hard in the next three years. She said she wants another chance to deliver initiatives to improve Hong Kong’s economy.

On whether her administration has become a lame-duck one, Mrs Lam said: “We have a lot of social and economic issues that we have committed to… we would try our very best to rebuild that trust.”

When asked if government accountability no longer works, since no one has stepped down to take responsibility over the matter so far, Mrs Lam said: “I hope people from all walks of life would recognise our work and give us an opportunity.”

Outside the Legislative Council (Legco) building, some protesters were watching her speech live on their iPads and mobile phones, jeering and booing whenever she said something they disagreed with.

THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED IN EVENT PEACEFULLY NEED NOT WORRY: LAM

Asked if she regarded the clashes on Wednesday (June 12) as “riot”, Mrs Lam said the government has never considered the participants, particularly the young students, as rioters.

She added that those who participated in the event peacefully would “have nothing to worry about”.

“To those young people who had 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,” she said.

“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,” she added.

Mrs Lam does not, however, state clearly on whether the government will launch an independent probe into the police’s use of force at Wednesday’s protest. She also did not rule out that some arrested protesters will be charged with rioting.

Late on Tuesday (June 18) night, eight of the 32 protesters arrested were unconditionally released.

When asked if she will meet protesters, the Chief Executive said she has been meeting people from various sectors over the past few days, and that there will be opportunities to talk to young people.

LAM ANNOUNCED ON SATURDAY EXTRADITION BILL IS SUSPENDED

Mrs Lam has come under intense pressure over her handling of the Bill, which she had been trying to push through the legislature. The Bill contains amendments to an existing law that many see as another sign of Beijing’s creeping erosion of Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms.

Anger over the Bill has fuelled massive protests, which spilled over into violent clashes with police last week. Protesters have criticised what they call the police’s heavy-handed actions and have called on Mrs Lam to quit.

Last Saturday, she apologised for the way the government had handled the draft law and said the Bill would be shelved for now.

Protesters felt that was not enough and launched the largest protest to date on Sunday, with organisers saying around two million participated in a march that surrounded the government’s central office complex in Admiralty.

The central office complex reopened on Tuesday. A smaller protest continued on Monday around the complex but had ended by Tuesday.

In an editorial on Tuesday, the pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao said of the move to apologise: “This is a very humble and serious attitude, showing moral courage and responsibility.”

Protesters who are members of four Telegram chat groups issued a joint statement on Tuesday calling on Mrs Lam and her government to respond to their demands by 5pm on Thursday or face an escalation of action. The demands include scrapping the Bill for good, releasing all detained protesters, retracting police accusations of rioting and punishing police for abuse of power.

Thousands surrounded the legislature building last Wednesday (June 12), preventing lawmakers from accessing the building to discuss the Bill.

But the protest quickly escalated to clashes with the police, who resorted to firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

In a bid to diffuse escalating tensions, police chief Stephen Lo on Monday clarified his earlier comments on rioting, saying they apply only to “the behaviour displayed by some protesters” who threw bricks or metal poles at officers.

Rioting carries a heavier penalty.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs, Politics

China pledges international pandemic aid

 Producers of medical goods urged to meet demand from affected countries. China has pledged to do its best to offer aid to countries and international organisations affected by COVID-19 to help contain the outbreak, and businesses are being urged to boost production of epidemic prevention materials to meet demand from abroad. The announcement was made at a meeting of the leading group of China’s coronavirus response, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday. Relevant departments and local authorities must step up co-ordination to closely monitor and analyse the quick spread of the outbreak outside China and roll out more targeted measures to prevent the import and export of infection, the group said in a statement. It is important to further


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

Back to work in Beijing, with tough measures in place

 Mandatory quarantine for those coming from overseas; some Wuhan businesses may reopen. As most of China attempts to return to normalcy after an extensive lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the capital Beijing has been carefully trying to strike a balance between having people restart work while also trying to keep out imported infections, and yesterday ordered a mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals. This comes as the Hubei government announced that some businesses in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, would gradually be allowed to reopen. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, his first visit to the city since the outbreak, a sign that the crisis could finally be easing after the government’s toug


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

Xi vows victory over coronavirus in Wuhan

President expresses condolences to families of people who died in epidemic. President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak remains the top priority and most important task, even amid the recent positive signs. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark during his inspection tour in the outbreak’s epicentre, Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. The spread of the novel coronavirus has been basically curbed in Hubei and Wuhan, Xi said, adding that initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan. Xi encouraged local residents and front-line worke


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

China sets example in fighting virus

Epidemic reveals inadequacies in global governance; Beijing says it’s ready to help. China’s response to novel coronavirus pneumonia has set an example for the world in coping with the contagion and offered experience in advancing global public health governance, officials and experts said. The COVID-19 outbreak has also raised the alarm about global public health security and reminded countries that co-operation and co-ordination are needed to deal with challenges as infectious diseases can rapidly escalate into global emergencies, they said. There is a growing positive momentum in epidemic control nationwide thanks to the “comprehensive, thorough and rigorous” measures that China has taken to contain the virus, they said, noting that the daily


By China Daily
March 10, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

More than 800,000 people return Beijing under quarantine

“There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. About 827,000 people who came back to Beijing from outside the city are still in a 14-day quarantine to see if they had been infected with the novel coronavirus, an official said on Friday. “There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. Z


By China Daily
March 9, 2020

Current affairs, Politics

South Korea declares third city as special care zone as cases spike

President Moon receives letter of support from North Korean leader as infected cases cross 6,000. South Korea has declared a third city a “special care zone” to boost its capability to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, with cases nationwide soaring beyond 6,000. The death toll stands at 42, mostly the elderly with underlying health conditions, while 88 people have recovered, including 47 discharged yesterday. The care zone announcement came as the presidential Blue House revealed that South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a letter on Wednesday from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressing support and comfort to the people battling the coronavirus outbreak, adding that he is confident they will “prevail in this fight wit


By The Straits Times
March 6, 2020