Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam met in Beijing with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang earlier this week. Li said, in a press conference afterward,
The city’s government must continue to make efforts in stopping violence and ending chaos in accordance with the law, and restore order.
On this, I agree. Lam must have her police stand down from provoking violence in the protests by Hong Kong’s citizens and then using that violence as pretext for shooting tear gas at the protesters, beating them, and shooting them with live ammunition.
Lam must also have her government address in a serious manner—accepting the bulk of them, if not all—the five demands of the protestors:
- withdrawal the extradition bill [lately done; although nothing has been done to prevent its being reintroduced]
- Lam to step down
- inquiry into police brutality
- release of those arrested
- greater democratic freedom
To which I add a sixth, a responsibility of the PRC press as well as of Lam’s Hong Kong government and of Xi’s PRC government:
- To stop characterizing the protesters’ movement as an independence movement
It’s nothing of the sort. The protestors have been at pains to emphasize that they explicitly do not desire independence from the PRC; they want only their rights restored under the one nation, two systems framework promised by the PRC government at the time of handover from Great Britain.
When Lam has her government act responsibly, there can be a just peace and prosperous economic activity in Hong Kong.
The initiative is entirely hers. And Xi’s.