Letters from leaders of Hong Kong's political parties and government departments.
For many Hong Kong people, it has been a tumultuous period, it's sad to see the violence erupted throughout the city. The movement stems from the protest against the amendment of fugitive offenders ordinance, which is now shelved. But despite the fact that the bill is gone and will not revive, there is still angry crowd which take to the street on a regular basis.
We do respect peaceful demonstration, and indeed this is the right guaranteed under our Basic Law, to enjoy freedom of assembly in a lawful manner. But unfortunately a minority of protestors decide to use radical and violent means in the course of their protests over the past 2 months, throwing bricks and even petrol bomb to police, setting fire, which has caused severe injuries to police officers, some of them even use catapult, which is danger to passer-by. In the meantime, protestors also suffered from injuries too.
I think the vast majority of HK people do not wish to see any injuries caused to anybody, whether the police or the protestors. Earlier on, the sit-in at the airport, 4 days in a row, eventually turned into violence against tourists, a mainlander, who was a reporter from mainland, was detained and beaten by the protestors. There were foreign journalists on the spot, also describe such brutality as ugly behavior.
By putting the airport to a standstill, hundreds of flights were cancelled, many people were left stranded at the airport. Some even attempted to beg the protestors for leaving due to family urgent reasons but in vain. Some foreign tourists openly spoke to the media that the protest indeed deters tourists from coming to Hong Kong. Over the last 2 months, a lot of local business suffer from the violent clashes, a plunge of business revenue, which might end up with consequences to employees, namely grassroot workers. The entire protest has dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong’s economy. But worse still, it’s the city’s image. Hong Kong has enjoyed the reputation as being safe and efficient. But that image is severely jeopardized by the social unrest now.
Bearing in mind that the escalation of violence coupled with some provocative behavior targeting the central government, for instance, damaging the national emblem and national flag, does nothing but stirring up conflict between Hong Kong and central government, which does not come close to any robust and reasonable way of solving the problems.
If the radical protestors, a minority in HK, insist on going down this road, with continuous violence and clashes, that will eventually ruin our city. We urge people in Hong Kong to join hands to call for a second thought, to step back and calm down. Regardless of the nature of motive behind, if people decide to use violence to achieve their goal, more people will get injured in the course of the clashes.
Some would ask why the government cannot make concession on holding independent inquiry into police conduct, there is now an existing mechanism probing into police wrongdoings, which is the IPCC, and it has already begun its work on such investigation, now people want another platform, even if the government take on board the suggestion, make concession in this regard, nobody would be able to assure that alone is enough to pacify the crowd, and put the entire movement to a halt. That is the difficulty faced by the government.
But having said that, nobody would expect the government to sit on its hands, the chief executive together with her cabinet should engage with different people from different sectors to have dialogue. True, there are no leaders in the entire movement, and indeed so far nobody would be able to represent others in the movement, but still the effort to engage with people for dialogue should not be missing.
As for the foreign business stationed in Hong Kong, if the endgame is foreign business with their investments and expatriates calling for an exodus, that is the worse case scenario for HK. We thrive because we are international, with the central government’s backing under one country two systems. If foreign business decide to leave due to the unstable social environment, HK would lose its edge. Job cuts would be dire consequences to many Hong Kong people.
Finally, I wish those who get injured in the course of protests, whether police or protestors, a swift recovery. I trust the majority of Hong Kong people are expecting an end to the social unrest, restore law and order, and the stability of our city.