On Wednesday, amid protests mounted by pan-democratic lawmakers inside the Legislative Council chamber, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was unable to deliver her annual Policy Address in person before Legco members.
Retreating from the House, she gave her speech through video instead.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was passed by unanimous voice vote in the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday US time.
To officially become a law, the bill will have to pass the Senate as well, and then be endorsed by President Donald Trump.
Shortly after a massive rally at Chater Garden in Central on Monday night calling for the passage of the proposed act by the US Congress, a spokesman for the Hong Kong government “expressed regret” over the demand, reiterating that “foreign legislatures should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs of the HKSAR.”
The remark may seem logical, but has Lam ever reflected on the fact that it was her own governance failure, her repeated mistakes, her continued refusal to meet public demands, the injustice in society, and the escalating brutality of her regime, that left Hong Kong citizens with no option but to look to the internationally community for help?
With a popularity rating of just 22.3 points out of 100, Lam should have stepped down a long time ago. What makes her think she is still “qualified” to criticize others?
Over the past weekend, US Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley paid a visit to Hong Kong to experience the anti-government movement here at first hand, and to meet with local pro-democracy figures and social activists.
While the American lawmakers showed readiness to travel halfway across the world from the US to our city to find out what is happening here, all our chief executive does is stay in her air-conditioned office and watch TV but never reach out to any protester in person and understand their views.
Initially, a meeting had been arranged between Cruz and the chief executive, but the appointment was canceled at the last minute on Lam’s order.
Shortly after the senators had left the city, Lam told media that the US lawmakers had “very preconceived views” about the state of affairs in Hong Kong and that she denounces the remarks they made during their trip.
The way Lam behaved towards the senators was not only rude, it also points to the cowardice and evasiveness of her government.
Hawley went to Mong Kok over the weekend while protests and clashes were underway, and later referred to Hong Kong as being “in danger of sliding towards a police state”, as AFP reported.
Perhaps Hawley’s remarks hit Lam where it hurt, prompting her to quickly lash out at him and dismiss his comments as “totally irresponsible and unfounded” during a press briefing before an Executive Council meeting on Tuesday.
Hawley later tweeted again to rebut Lam, saying that he “chose the words ‘police state’ purposely – because that is exactly what Hong Kong is becoming. I saw it myself. If Carrie Lam wants to demonstrate otherwise, here’s an idea: resign”.
Apart from Cruz and Hawley, another Republican Senator Rick Scott paid a visit to Hong Kong earlier, saying clearly that he will stand with the people of Hong Kong in their fight for freedom.
Based on my observation, I can say that the reason why the people of Hong Kong are able to win international public opinion is because throughout the entire anti-extradition bill movement, we have demonstrated to the entire world our tremendous unity, our immense capacity for taking actions, our remarkable flexibility, and our accuracy in getting our message across.
Nonetheless, at this point, there are still uncertainties over the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in Senate, and we must also never underestimate the influence of pro-Beijing lobbyists in Washington.
Let me conclude with these words: the people of Hong Kong must stick together and persevere with their cause because there is still a very long way to go before we can declare victory.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 16
Translation by Alan Lee from EJ Insight with additional reporting