Hong Kong’s embattled leader urged the public on Tuesday to give her administration a chance to repair the damage caused by an unpopular extradition bill as she sought to assuage anger that has driven several huge protests and the storming of the city’s legislature in the past month.
Carrie Lam, the city’s top official, told reporters that she was aware that despite suspending the contentious legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, protesters were still concerned the government would revive efforts to pass the bill.
“There are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council,” Ms. Lam said. “There is no such plan. The bill is dead.”
The protesters have repeatedly called on Mrs. Lam to fully withdraw the bill. But she has refused to do so and there appeared to be no change in her position on Tuesday, though she asserted that there was “no difference” between declaring it dead and withdrawing it.
Public anger over the extradition bill has thrown Hong Kong into the territory’s worst political crisis in years, sending hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets in marches that have been largely peaceful but have sometimes resulted in clashes.
On July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese control from Britain, a small group of young protesters, many of whom were students, stormed the city’s legislature, smashing glass walls and spray-painting political slogans calling for Mrs. Lam’s resignation and for universal suffrage.
The forceful occupation of the legislative office building was a stark rebuke of Mrs. Lam’s administration as well as what many protesters consider the failure of the political system to adequately represent the interests of Hong Kong over those of Beijing.
She acknowledged that the public’s grievances stemmed from her government’s earlier efforts to push through the bill despite a large public outcry.
"We didn’t predict its political sensitivity, and we haven’t done enough, causing this big storm,” she said. “We express our sincere apology.”
Mrs. Lam rejected calls to set up an independent inquiry into the recent clashes between protesters and the police and refused to back down from the government’s previous condemnation of some protesters as “rioters.”
She also appeared to dismiss the protesters’ calls for her resignation, but pledged to lead a government that would do better at listening to the needs of the broader public.
“I still have the passion and the sense of duty to serve for the Hong Kong people,” she said. “I hope society will give me and my team the opportunity and the space to use the new governance style to respond to the people’s economic and livelihood demands.”
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.