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Fellow citizens, for more than two months protests arising from the Fugitive Offenders bill have continued. Our citizens, police and reporters have been injured during violent incidents. There have been chaotic scenes at the airport and MTL stations. Roads and tunnels have been suddenly blocked, causing delay and inconvenience to daily life. Visitors wonder whether our city is still a safe place for travel or business.
Families and friends have been under stress, and arguments have flared. We have also seen abuse and bullying in some schools and on the internet for many people. Hong Kong has become an unfamiliar place.
Incidents over these past two months have shocked and saddened Hong Kong people. We are all very anxious about Hong Kong, our home. We all hope to find a way out of the current and impass in unsettling times. First, the government will formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns. The secretary for security will move a motion according to the rules of procedure when the legislative council resumes.
Second, we will fully support the work of the IPCC. In addition to the overseas experts I have appointed two new members to the IPCC, namely, Mrs Helen Yu and senior counsel Mr Paul Lam. I pledge that the government will seriously follow up the recommendations made in the IPCC’s report that from this month I and my principal officials will reach out to the community to start a direct dialogue.
People from all walks of life with different stances and backgrounds are invited to share their views and air their grievances. We must find ways to address the discontent in society and to look for solutions. Fourth, I will invite community leaders, professionals, and academics to independently examine and review society’s deep-seated problems and to advise the government on finding solutions.
Fellow citizens, lingering violence is damaging the very foundations of our society, especially the rule of law. Some people, though not many, attacked the central government’s office in Hong Kong and vandalised a national flag and national emblem. This is a direct challenge to one country two systems. Both have put Hong Kong in a highly vulnerable and dangerous situation.
Irrespective of our grievances or the depth of discontent towards the government, we cannot agree or accept that violence is the solution to our problems. Our foremost priority now is to end violence, to safeguard the rule of law, and to restore order and safety in society. As such, the government has to strictly enforce the law against all violent and illegal acts.