After having avoided the spotlight for two weeks, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor finally appeared before the media with her principal officials on Monday to comment on the latest developments in the anti-extradition bill protests.
During the media conference, her focus was still to condemn violence while continuing to equivocate on the protesters’ demand for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into the saga.
Apparently, the chief executive’s first public appearance about half a month ago has failed to de-escalate the situation, with violent protests spreading across the territory shortly after her press conference.
Worse still, it’s not only the protesters and members of the public who are losing their patience but also the pro-establishment camp.
Lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan representing the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has used the word “disappointed” in Chinese in her social media post.
If our guess is right, there must be a lot of people like Chiang within the pro-Beijing camp who are getting impatient with the administration, only that they may be hesitating to speak their mind in public.
Lam is apparently employing delaying tactics to try to wear down the morale and energy of the protesters until they run out of steam.
However, judging from the rapid escalation of the resistance movement and the evolution of the way in which protesters are mounting their stand against the police, it has become increasingly apparent that Lam’s delaying tactics are actually making the situation worse and exacerbating social rifts.
If the chief executive thinks protesters are stubbornly set upon getting what they want regardless of the dire consequences on society, then why doesn’t she try putting herself in the protesters’ shoes and re-evaluating the current situation from their perspective?
We actually feel compelled to ask here: does the government really think it can put an end to violence just by counting on the police to lock up all the extremely violent protesters?
Let’s not forget that the vast majority of the radical protesters are young people who just can’t see a future for themselves. In other words, they have nothing to lose, which explains why they have nothing to fear.
That being said, we believe the government has got it all wrong by warning the young protesters against ruining the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, because these young people just have nothing much to lose as far as the economic situation of the city is concerned.
Just like we have said over and over again, the only way for Lam to truly resolve the ongoing crisis is to answer the two consensus demands of the people: officially withdrawing the extradition bill and setting up an independent commission of inquiry to probe the entire incident.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 6
Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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