The social turmoil triggered by the controversies over the proposed legal amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance has shown no signs of relenting, with protests and clashes erupting in one district after another across Hong Kong.
I think Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should be well aware by now that she actually has to “walk the talk” when it comes to listening to public opinion and addressing public demands.
And the demands of the anti-extradition bill protesters couldn’t be any clearer: officially withdraw the bill, for one. Even for those who were once in favor of the legislative push have already changed their position.
That being said, our chief executive should take a step further and declare the official withdrawal of the bill, just like what her predecessor Tung Chee-hwa did with the proposed enactment of Article 23 of the Basic Law back in 2003, rather than continuing to pull word tricks.
With regard to the call for the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry into the alleged use of excessive force by the police against protesters, I believe the administration shouldn’t reject the idea on the grounds that the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) is already working on it.
The IPCC has its own limitations: it is only charged with probing whether the police has violated its rules in the course of enforcing the law, and nothing further.
In comparison, the scope of investigation of an independent commission of inquiry is much broader, and its power much bigger, both of which allow it to probe not only the police or its frontline officers, but also all those who have taken part in the protests.
As such, I strongly recommend that the government immediately establish an independent commission of inquiry to look into every aspect of the entire incident and follow all the clues wherever they lead, including the decisions, commands and execution made by the police regarding its operations, why the scale of the incident was rapidly expanding, and whether the administration has made fundamental mistakes in its decision-making process over public policies.
By doing so, the government can not only satisfy public demands, but can also prevent giving rise to any impression among the police that they are being singled out.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 11
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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