Chief Executive Carrie Lam criticised independence advocate Andy Chan on Tuesday after his party sent a letter to US President Donald Trump asking Washington to suspend Hong Kong’s special trade status.

Lam told reporters that the letter was inappropriate and damaged Hong Kong’s interests.

“Of course such action is not appropriate, and just describing it as inappropriate perhaps has not reflected the public outcry and anger,” Lam said.

“Whether you support ‘one country, two systems’ or you don’t, living in Hong Kong, I think everybody should take the interests of Hong Kong into heart. So, for somebody to advocate that a foreign government should penalise or punish Hong Kong is really – I just don’t know what sort of adjectives to use to describe this sort of actions,” she added.

When Chan appeared at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club last week to speak on behalf of the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), Lam called his comments “regrettable and unacceptable.”

The HKNP wrote the letter to Trump last Friday, asking him to suspend the differential treatment the US grants to Hong Kong, and to revoke the WTO memberships of Hong Kong and China.

Andy Chan. Photo: Pool/SCMP.

The letter was denounced by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, as well as by pro-Beijing loyalist Maria Tam.

Lam said on Tuesday that many people – including those who are “normally very moderate commentators” –  disagreed with Chan’s actions: “I think the strong sentiments have been expressed by members of the public, and I can only say that this is deeply regretted and… I don’t think any sensible, reasonable person in Hong Kong will condone that sort of activities.”

The HKNP is facing a potential ban by the security secretary and has until early September to make their case.

Holmes Chan

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.