Demosistō’s Statement on the HKSAR Government’s 9 July Response Regarding the Anti-Extradition Movement
Chief Executive Carrie Lam spoke with members of the press this morning, responding to the anti-extradition movement’s demands and announcing new governing policies. However, we regret that the government is still unable to respond fully to protesters’ five major demands. We request the chief executive to clearly announce the complete withdrawal of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance amendment bill, to prevent the possibility that a play of words gives the legislation room to survive. We also request her promise not to restart the legislative process.
The police’s violence and abuse of power have become an important issue angering many Hong Kong citizens. Numerous peaceful protesters have been hurt by the police’s use of excessive and unreasonable force. The government has announced that it intends to solve the problem through the Independent Police Complaints Council, but this council has been ridiculed as ‘a tiger without teeth’, since it lacks actual powers to investigate. It is currently also comprised of members from the pro-establishment camp in addition to its past record of conservative work policy, both of which are reasons to doubt its fairness and credibility. The government should therefore immediately establish an independent public inquiry unit led by a judge, which can investigate the use of police power throughout the entire anti-extradition movement, including but not limited to the 12 June decision to fire, in order to ensure protesters’ safety in future demonstrations.
The government has also proposed to improve the advisory committee’s structure, especially focusing on reforming the Commission on Youth, as a way of obtaining broader public opinion. We think this move is meaningless, since the government has long considered the younger generations as its enemies, assaulting their basic human rights and political freedoms through such means as disqualification and imprisonment. If the government intends to repair these relations, the Secretary for Justice to immediately promise to cease prosecuting protesters and not to disqualify the younger generations’ election candidacies or elected offices.
As the chief executive notes at the press conference, the recent anti-extradition movement began with deep-rooted social conflicts. Therefore, for the government to resolve the present crisis, it must not shy away from political reforms, which is the answer to the government’s own lack of legitimacy. The government should immediately restart such process that moves beyond the framework set on 31 August 2014 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, returning to Hong Kongers our equal rights within the political structure.