（16 October, 2019, Hong Kong）Chief Executive Carrie Lam today announced her latest Policy Address. Measures to abate the ongoing crisis were absent and there was no response on tackling police brutality. At times when Hong Kong is in the biggest crisis since 1967 Riot, making a policy speech without addressing core problems in society was disappointing. Almost 80% of respondents in a recent poll believed Carrie Lam should step down, it is clear that she is no longer fit for office.
Since June 12th, police officers have repeatedly shielded their identities to evade the consequences of their brutal and unlawful acts against citizenry and journalists, prompting protesters to step up their actions and resulting in the arrest of over 2000 people including teenagers. After invoking the powers of Emergency Regulation Ordinance to ban masks at protests, Carrie Lam today emphasised a policy plan to create more homeowners, which clearly missed the point and offered no solution to the crisis she created.
In response to the policy address, IT legislator Charles Mok noted that the only way Hong Kong can get out from the current crisis is through genuine reforms and democracy. It will require political means which are ignored in the Address. Mr Mok reiterated the demands from the people, “five demands, not one less, Carrie Lam to step down, launch investigation over police brutality.”
Demands of the people on the Policy Address:
1.Set up an independent committee to investigate the police brutality, torturing and enforcement issues.
2.Reform the Police Force and penalise police officers who break the law.
3. Restart discussion of a genuine political reform outside the 8.31 framework.
4.Set up an independent commission of inquiry into the misconduct of the Chief Executive and the Police Force.
5. Carrie Lam to step down.
This year’s Policy Address issued some new measures to foster the growth of innovation and technology in Hong Kong, including extending some hiring subsidy programmes to all technology and R&D companies, building a single-platform for government digital services, streamlining the application and audit of government programmes and more.
Charles Mok believed the measures are only “better than nothing”. Various demands that the ICT sector has long requested were still lacking, including tech talent nurturing, upskilling support for the workforce, review of outdated regulations and more. The government’s lack of vision in policy areas beyond land and housing was disappointing.
The international community is highly concerned that the government will pass further regulations using the Emergency Regulation Ordinance to impose restrictions on Internet, online forums and telecommunication platforms. The government should pledge to the public that under no circumstances should any laws be enacted to threaten the stability and openness of the Internet in Hong Kong, in order to ensure that the telecommunications, data centres and the I&T sector will not be affected.