A group of 35 former officials and prominent figures have urged the government to form an independent commission of inquiry to look into recent clashes between anti-extradition law protesters and police.

“The chief executive… should show her political and moral courage as the leader of Hong Kong, to consider Hong Kong’s overall interests, and to take action to resolve the deepening conflicts,” the statement read. “Political problems must be resolved politically. Frontline police officers should not be put on the edge of political confrontation.”

Carrie Lam Tai Keen-man
Carrie Lam and Tai Keen-man during the election campaign in 2017. File Photo: Citizen News.

Many of the signatories – who are seeking to push forward from the political deadlock – are former officials. They include ex-secretary for labour and welfare Stephen Sui, former undersecretary for transport and housing Yau Shing-mu, and ex-undersecretary for commerce and economic development Godfrey Leung. Other signatories include former political assistants Frankie Yip, Paul Chan, Zandra Mok, Linda Choy and Julian Law, and former government economist Kwok Kwok-chuen.

Former deputy director of broadcasting Tai Keen-man, who was a public relations manager for Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s 2017 election campaign, also signed the statement.

Their statement said that an independent commission of inquiry would not target any side, but would seek to find truth and lessons to learn for society.

It comes after former chief justice Andrew Li made a similar call for an independent investigation.

Former Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang
Former Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang. File

The co-signatories of the joint statement were from many different sectors. They included former Chinese University of Hong Kong head Joseph Sung, chief executive of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce Shirley Yuen, and former Christian Council head Reverend Yuen Tin-Yau.

They urged protesters not to adopt means that harmed themselves and others. They also urged police management to avoid causing more conflict when handling protests.

The extradition bill would allow the city to handle case-by-case fugitive transfers to jurisdictions with no prior arrangements, including China. Critics have said residents would be at risk of extradition to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections. Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared the bill “dead” last week, but did not enact any mechanism to withdraw it.

Large-scale demonstrations have rocked the city since June, have evolved into protests over democracy, alleged police brutality and other community grievances.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.