18 January 2020
Praising the Hong Kong government for ‘not avoiding difficult tasks’, Wang Zhimin said Carrie Lam and her team must be given more time and space to deal with ongoing issues. Photo: HKEJ
Praising the Hong Kong government for ‘not avoiding difficult tasks’, Wang Zhimin said Carrie Lam and her team must be given more time and space to deal with ongoing issues. Photo: HKEJ

Liaison Office chief backs Lam, denounces violent protests

Beijing’s top representative in Hong Kong on Thursday offered words of support for the beleaguered Carrie Lam administration, saying the central government stands by the territory’s leadership in the wake of the extradition bill controversy. 

At a public event, Liaison Office chief Wang Zhimin stressed that Beijing will continue to back the Hong Kong government as it faces several challenges.

He praised Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Hong Kong’s chief executive, for her efforts, saying she and her team were persevering in “governance in accordance with the law” and that they were “not avoiding difficult tasks”.

Wang, however, admitted indirectly that the Lam government has room for improvement, as he stated that society should give Lam more time and space to deal with the ongoing issues.

Speaking at a ceremony for launch of a committee that will coordinate the October 1 National Day celebrations, Wang slammed foreign forces for their alleged meddling in Hong Kong affairs, and also warned Hongkongers to stay on guard against a few locals who were seeking to create chaos in the city.

The vast majority of Hong Kong citizens expressed their opinions in a peaceful and rational manner in recent demonstrations, but there was a small minority of people that were trying to cause chaos, in collusion with foreign forces, for their own gain, Wang said, urging the public to stay on high alert and unwaveringly oppose such acts.

The liaison office chief particularly condemned the storming and occupation of the Legislative Council complex by some radical protesters on July 1, saying the violent acts of the demonstrators shocked not only Chinese citizens but also people around the world.

Denouncing the violent incidents and clashes that took place during the anti-extradition bill protests, Wang said the protesters trampled on the rule of law of law, threatening Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

Do Hong Kong people want a city of rule of law, unity, safety, stability and civilized conduct, or a city of violence, disputes, rifts and uncivilized behavior, the Chinese official asked rhetorically.

In other comments, Wang said the central government firmly supports the Hong Kong police force as it performs its duties to protect the law.

Wang ended his speech by citing former Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa’s famous words: a prosperous Hong Kong is good for the country, and Hong Kong can be better off when the country is prosperous.

Thursday marked the first time Wang openly spoke on the extradition bill saga after he met with Hong Kong delegates of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body, and local deputies of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s legislature, in mid-June to express Beijing’s support for suspension of the proposed law amendments.

Speaking to media after attending yesterday’s event, Tam Yiu-chung, the sole Hong Kong member of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, described Wang’s remarks as messages from Beijing that rule of law and stability are extremely important to Hong Kong, and that the central leadership aims to protect the “one country, two systems”.

As to people’s demand for reactivating constitutional reform in Hong Kong, Tam pointed out that the guiding principle is that every move in this regard must abide by the Basic Law and the framework announced by the NPC on Aug. 31, 2014.

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