By former chief secretary Anson Chan

Dear Mrs Lam,

I am writing to you as a friend and former colleague who, like you, has devoted my whole career to the civil service and the welfare of Hong Kong people.

Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

I am not going to take time rehearsing, let alone allocating blame as to why Hong Kong finds itself in this crisis. As public servants, we all do our best for the people of Hong Kong, that is a given.

However, I now urge you and your advisors to fully acknowledge the gravity of the current situation and show yourselves worthy of the trust that has been placed in you.

I believe the following decisive steps are essential to defuse tension and restore lasting calm to our streets:

To stop juggling with semantics and state, categorically, that you are withdrawing the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019; your refusal to do so only invites suspicion and fuels anger;

To establish a completely impartial Commission of Inquiry, chaired by a senior member of the Judiciary, into the circumstances of the disturbances on 12 June and the response of our police force. I believe this is vital, not just to acknowledge the deep concerns of the protesters and their families, but to restore the trust and respect of our community for a force that has maintained our safety and served us with courage and integrity for so many years. The officers in the front line should not be pilloried simply for following orders and doing what they believed was their duty to maintain law and order;

To consider offering a one-off amnesty to all involved in potentially criminal acts on 12 June: namely those who have been arrested and may be charged with riotous behaviour, those who may be charged at a later date and members of the police force who, while acting under orders, may be found to have used excessive force.

On the basis of these concessions, I believe you would be fully justified in expecting the community to refrain from further action that may lead to public disorder and disrupt the normal life of the city.

Anson Chan, GBM, GCMG, CBE, JP, Former Chief Secretary for Administration

Guest contributors for Hong Kong Free Press.