Former Hong Kong Chief Secretary Henry Tang said the police overreacted when they used tear gas and pepper spray on demonstrators protesting for democracy.
Tang called on the government to communicate with relevant parties in the protest movement to avoid clashes and excessive use of force, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday.
However, he said he supports police action to maintain public order, adding the level of force necessary to ensure it is entirely up to the authorities.
The criticism was seen as another jab at Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Tang’s opponent in the 2012 election, whom he accused of recommending a crackdown on marchers protesting a proposed anti-sedition law in 2003.
Leung was the convernor of the Executive Council at the time.
As a society under rule of law, Hong Kong should not allow unlawful assembly, Tang said.
He warned that any collapse of public order will hurt Hong Kong’s reputation as a major world city and financial center.
Tang said China will not change its mind about its proposed election plan for Hong Kong’s next chief executive election and any discussion about the issue is impossible under the prevailing political atmosphere.
He said the government showed goodwill when it announced the withdrawal of riot police Monday morning.
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