Motion Under Article 73(9) of the Basic Law to Form an Independent Investigation Committee to Investigate the Charges Against the Chief Executive for Serious Breach of Law and/or Dereliction of Duty (2019.12.05)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): President, I have listened to the speeches made by a number of Members from the opposition camp. Actually, despite their impassioned delivery, I may conclude them with two phrases: presenting the outcome as the causes and confounding right and wrong. Over the years, the opposition camp has been distorting and slurring the truth, pulling wool over the eyes of many members of the public. Many commentaries consider that the result of the District Council (“DC”) Election held recently is a victory of propaganda of international calibre and fake news, which is the consequence of manipulation by social media and emotions in contemporary elections.

Regarding the DC Election this time around, among the 1.6 million electors voting for the opposition camp, I believe at least several hundred thousands of them do not support violence and they merely want to express their discontent with the Government and the Police. Throughout the movement of opposition to the proposed legislative amendments, the opposition force has been resorting to some super propaganda materials which are partly true yet partly false and extremely emotional, and many Hong Kong citizens who are kind and moderate have been changed profoundly. At the early stage, they exploited the fear of China among the people of Hong Kong to make the Government withdraw the Bill successfully. After that, they shifted the target to the Police, disregarding the fact that the Police are merely responding to the riots and that they are risking attacks by petrol bombs, bricks and arrows in performing their duties. Some members of the public were killed by stones hurled and set on fire. These people are subjected to vigilante attacks and suffer serious injuries because of their different political stances. Members have seen these cruel acts. Over 2 000 protesters and members of the public, as well as close to 500 police officers, have been injured and sent to hospitals since June. No one in Hong Kong would like to see these scenes.

Meanwhile, taking an overview of riots in various places around the world, the duration of riots in most of the places is shorter than that of Hong Kong, yet in individual places, there were deaths of a dozen to more than 200. Luckily, so far, no protester or rioter has died directly in the operations of the Police. Yet, some people are not happy with this. They then fabricated death cases, spreading rumours that six persons died in the Prince Edward Station. When the media exposed that those rumours were fabrications, they spread rumours about protesters being subjected to suicide or being raped, and they insisted that such incidents did happen even when family members of the victims have denied them. I wonder if they would know more about such cases than family members do. I really consider this strange.

Furthermore, there are rumours about armed police of the Mainland having mixed into the Police. I often tell them, if this situation really happens in Hong Kong―as far as I know, there are a large number of “yellow-ribbons” in various government departments and there are people of “faintly yellow” in the Police, so I do not believe no one will produce proof if armed police have mixed into the Police. I absolutely do not believe that. If any person really believes in those rumours, then Hong Kong is not a suitable place for them to live. If such lawless acts as Mainland armed police having mixed into the Police do occur, I really think that Hong Kong is no longer a suitable place to live.

Moreover, it is exasperating that many scenarios are comparable to episodes in movies. I have seen a scene which is particularly overwhelming. Two elderly people, an old man and an old woman of 80 to 90 years of age, tottering in a shaky manner, were led to a bridge, where they were filmed being taught what postures to take. They are too cruel to do so. These elderly people are already 80 to 90 years old. The old man could hardly stand steadily and his hands kept trembling. How can they be so hard-hearted to do that? People who escorted them in coming out are often found to be present at scenes of protests. In fact, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Members should have seen these scenarios. If any people get caught, there will definitely be someone coming forward to help. They are very well organized. Some of them will be responsible for taking actions, others will do the support and someone will surely keep watch. I believe in the aforementioned case, at least five to six people were involved, where someone would be responsible for filming, someone would spur people to come forward and someone would make remedy in the aftermath. It is outrageous.

Regarding these cases of sheer fabrication, the public are so kind that they will believe them. Worse still, some people and the media with malicious intents will spread the false information widely, and certain Members of the Legislative Council will talk about these scenarios with an assertive tone in the legislature. Just now, a Member said that “a large group of people had died for unknown reasons”. Does the Member have any evidence to support his remark? As a Member, he dares to say that “a large group of people had died for unknown reasons” in the legislature. What is he suggesting? I think they thrive on chaos. Yet, the greatest problem is that the public believe them firmly. They think that if even Members say so, these will not be fabrications and they have seen the footage after all.

In fact, I have tried my very best to explain to different people, yet many people are mono-perspective and blind to other perspectives. I often ask myself: How can I stop people from believing in this as if they are possessed? Yet, it is really very difficult. Do not consider it “fascinating” if Hong Kong continues to run this course. If all the people in Hong Kong are like this, the situation will be problematic. Even if they managed to secure the regime, there would still be problems. By then, Hong Kong would undergo inferiorization, and no one will desire to live in such a place.

If the Government and the Police are wrong, they definitely should admit their wrong, be investigated and rectify their wrong. Yet, if the Government cannot crack the smearing and alteration tactics used in the super propaganda, such fake news will continue to corrupt the minds of the public and provoke intense hatred and growing anger. Hong Kong will never have peace. I have reminded the Chief Secretary time and again that they should enhance their propaganda efforts, yet so far I have not seen any action taken by the authorities. He said a Member has done a good job. Yet, it does not help, for the authorities are not doing a good job. Hence, in my view, this is the Number One enemy. If the authorities can make the public truly understand the work of the Government, the difficulties it faces and the reasons preventing it from doing certain work, I think if only the Government could make the public understand all this, Hong Kong would not have come to the present situation, and I am certain that there will not be 1.6 million electors casting their votes in this manner.

In fact, I think the riots that occur today in society should not be attributed to any single party, for many people have to be held accountable, including people provoking and supporting the use of violence, and they should bear a significant share of the blame. I hope the public will calm down and do some thinking. The problems prevailing in Hong Kong are indeed caused by politicization, intimidation and demonization. Some time ago, the opposition camp tried “politicization and intimidation” in the case involving the co-location arrangement. Yet, they failed on that occasion, for the public did not believe them. Subsequently, the various kinds of scenarios demonized by them under the co-location arrangement have not arisen.

Regarding the allegation of the use of excessive force by the Police, I believe that many, or a small number of, police officers have resorted to excessive force in chaotic situations and this has made the public anxious. We have to handle these incidents solemnly in a focused manner and attribute accountability for such unlawful actions. Yet, we should not make sweeping generalizations. As in the case of violence in society, which is caused by the “black clad” accounting for a minority in society, will we consider that all peaceful protesters and people wearing masks belong to their group? No, we will not. In that case, why would the Police Force as a whole be blamed due to the conduct of a small group of police officers?

On the other hand, the violence used by the “black clad” in Hong Kong includes petrol bombs, arrows and bricks, and even bombs of massive destructive power that can kill people. All these weapons are lethal. If the Police do not apply appropriate force, they cannot stop protesters from using violence. Members should not present the outcome as the cause. If no riot occurs in society, how will the Police take actions and how will there be the so-called police brutality? Obviously, some people in the community are deliberately overstating the mistakes of the Police to an infinite extent while beautifying the violence of protesters unlimitedly. In fact, these are the tactics they often use in political struggles. They will take things to extremes, smear their opponents and raise alarmist talk continuously to the public. The public should look at all of these clearly.

Let me cite an example. Currently, they are keen on saying that tear gas and tear gas rounds are poisonous and harmful even though the Government has already clarified that the harm of tear gas is in no way comparable to the harm caused by the burning of shops and all kinds of items by protesters. Yet, they do not believe and keep saying that tear gas rounds are more poisonous. I will cite another example. At the meeting on that day, a Member asked why the Police had fired tear gas rounds near the hospital. Buddy, had not the rioters started the riot near the hospital, how would the hospital be affected? This is an apt example of how they are presenting the outcome as the cause. These examples abound indeed, as these scenarios occur throughout the day. Yet, I do not understand why the public would have missed that as if they are possessed. They can merely see the consequence but not the causes.

The motion today requests the setting up of an independent investigation committee to investigate the charges against the Chief Executive for serious breach of law or dereliction of duty. Looking at the four reasons, so to speak, put forth by the opposition camp, which include unrelentingly pushing through a highly controversial bill, using excessive force in crackdowns, initiating disproportionate criminal charges and causing a rift in society, no matter which perspective I take, these reasons are in my view nothing but political prosecution and accusations with exaggerated and false content. In handling the problem this time around, I think the Chief Executive and the Government team as a whole have merely been indecisive and failing to take action, yet the Chief Executive has done nothing breaching the law, and there is no evidence justifying their allegations of the Chief Executive. Hence, I think the motion proposed today is merely a political show, and hence I will not support it.

President, some people are now calling for disbanding the Police Force. Yet, who would maintain law and order if the Police Force were disbanded? Should the People’s Liberation Army (“PLA”) be called in to do the job? If we do not have the Police Force, we will merely be left with PLA. Hence, people who are really concerned about the interest of Hong Kong will not chant any slogan like that. We should support the Hong Kong Police Force to continue to enforce the law in a restrained, reasonable and rational manner, hoping that the incidents will subside as soon as possible so that society will return to order. This is the dearest wish of real Hongkongers and people who are sincerely concerned about Hong Kong. Police officers of Hong Kong have been bearing great pressure in the past couple of months, facing external criticisms and attacks, doxxing and harassment of their family members. At the same time, police officers have to carry heavy equipment and run around during their long hours of duty. Besides, they are anxious that they may be assassinated anytime. It is tiring both physically and psychologically. It is a cause of concern that police officers of Hong Kong will collapse sooner or later. By then, Hong Kong will be thrown into complete chaos, making the mobilization of PLA inevitable.

Nonetheless, I think it is true that the Police should give due regard to the impression they are conveying to the public in their handling of riots. I know that the new Commissioner for Police has just assumed office. I hope he will bring about new changes, a new culture and a new image, so that people will no longer have any excuse to smear the Police Force. I would like to point out that, more often than not, we can sense that the voices of certain police officers have already become coarse, meaning they have been making great effort to speak there. Certainly, I do not agree with the remarks of some police officers, such as those calling the public to back off, for those remarks are obviously emotional. What are the sources of such emotions? These are responses arising from long hours of duty and the perception that they are not being treated fairly.

Let me cite an example. If the police want the public to leave, they may tell the public: “Please go home, for I also want to go home to have time with my kids, to watch television and have dinner with them, rather than carrying out duties for over 20 hours like now. Will you please help the Police and all of us. I do not want to be your enemy. I come here because I have received notification of riots. Will you please help us and yourself and stop making troubles. To all of you, we are forced to fire tear gas or impose regulation. We want to do none of these. Will you please let us go home to have time with our kids. I am a Hongkonger. I have parents and siblings and I have a good family.” If police officers talk to the public this way, I believe most people with a conscience will back off voluntarily and stop disturbing the Police. In that case, police officers will not be provoked deliberately by people on scene, and their improper demeanor will not be recorded. Police officers should not fall into such traps.

It is easy for me to make these remarks here. Why? Because I have no pressure. Yet, I earnestly hope Honourable Members will understand that it is easy to make remarks here but it will be much more painful and dangerous at the scene. Some people will snatch the arrested persons, some will snatch guns and some will be filming the scenes. The pressure they faced on scene is completely different. It is easy for Members to play the onlookers here. Am I right? Yet, I have to tell all the police officers in Hong Kong that: First, many, many, many people support them. Second, for the sake of image, I hope that from now on, there will be a new Police Force led by a new Commissioner―I have seen what he has done, he can handle things in a wiser manner and he is more capable of dealing with all this. I hope the morale of the Police Force will not be weakened because of the inaction of their superior in the past. I hope they will have high morale and I hope they will and must persevere, so that Hong Kong will not need to rely on PLA to maintain law and order. Third, I wish to tell the public that: I hope the public would understand that police officers are also Hongkongers, and that a vast majority of police officers are working strenuously for long hours to provide services to Hong Kong, and they are performing their duties faithfully. Police officers have no enmity and hatred towards the public, they will not beat the public for no reason and they do so because they need to deal with the riots. Since they are under tremendous pressure, there may be areas where their performance is undesirable.

We hope that the Police Force will change from today onwards. We are looking forward to a new image of the Police Force, adopting a persuasive approach and using rational dialogue. Justice is in the people’s hearts. I believe if the public can regard the Police Force as Hongkongers and friends, who are facing the issue of identifying solutions to the problems together, we will be like one Hong Kong. We have suffered serious harms and we are now in troubled waters, please stop trying to resort to violence to push further. I can say that in this incident in Hong Kong, “Success and failure are both determined by violence”. With the developments so far, we have sustained substantial harms. I implore all of us to sit down. We all hope that we can return to our normal life. If the promotion of violence continues, we will come to a tragic end. The people of Hong Kong will be the ultimate victims. Thank you, President.

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