英文

Editorial﹕Government should heed Andrew Li's advice

【明報專訊】AT the reception for the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, chief executive Carrie Lam said that she would not only undertake a review of herself but also start afresh to continue serving the public. More than a week has passed, but we cannot see what strategy the government has formulated to reconnect with society. All we have seen is that protesters are launching even more campaigns on the strength of their success, with protests spilling over into all districts.

 The Honourable Andrew Li Kwok-nang, the first chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal, has always stayed away from politics. But in a break with his usual practice he has written for this newspaper. In the article Li, in a rare move, criticises the government for making "a serious error of political judgement". Talking about the protests, he says that "the commitment of Hong Kong people shown by their peaceful and orderly marches was impressive", but he also says that "unlawful and violent behaviour must be strongly condemned by all". He argues that "the scenes in the storming of the Legislative Council were ugly and shocking. Under the rule of law, this cannot be tolerated. The law was willfully disobeyed. Those responsible must be brought to justice. If convicted after a fair trial, the courts should consider deterrent sentences". No one would challenge Andrew Li's recognition of and insistence on the rule of law. His comments on the unlawful and violent behaviour associated with the protests against the amendment are succinct. They give food for thought to those overzealous protesters.

 Andrew Li does not just condemn unlawful and violent behaviour. In his article he makes suggestions more than he criticises. He expresses hopes that the chief executive, as a leader, will encourage more extensive debate within the government before making important decisions. He says that the CE is accountable to the central government and the HKSAR. He believes that the CE "must speak up more for Hong Kong people and should be seen to be doing so". He says that all holders of public office "must always remember that they are not exercising parental authority over citizens. They are servants of the people and should serve with humility. They are subject to scrutiny in the court of public opinion". These three observations are exactly right when it comes to what the government has done wrong in the controversy over the amendment. Li points out that the inner circle of the government has made a wrong decision, the CE must speak up more for Hong Kong people and holders of public office must put aside their paternalism. Apart from being critical, Li also projects positivity and expresses hopes that the administration of Carrie Lam can serve Hong Kong better.

 Li argues that the amendment bill should be withdrawn, saying that it is not necessary to wait for the bill to lapse when the term of the current Legco expires next year. He believes that the withdrawal of the bill would assist in the process of reconciliation. Looking at the issue from the perspective of political reality, the government's insistence on not withdrawing the bill has, in effect, been fueling the opposition. Protests have mushroomed in all districts by virtue of this insistence. Li says that the withdrawal of the bill would assist in the process of reconciliation, meaning that it has a deeper positive effect. We plead with the government to stop being stubborn or foolish. It should bury a zombie issue decisively by withdrawing the bill.

 Andrew Li suggests the withdrawal of the amendment bill and the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the incident, arguing that they will facilitate reconciliation. The government is in such a position that it does not seem to have any clues what to do to "reconnect" with society. Li's two suggestions might be the key to resolving the government's dilemma.

明報社評 2019.07.09﹕撤回修例獨立調查 政府破局兩把鑰匙

特首林鄭月娥在7.1回歸酒會發言,自我檢討以外要再出發,為市民服務。但是超過一星期了,除了看到示威者乘勝追擊,示威行動溢向各區之外,完全看不到政府有什麼策略與社會重新連接。

終審法院首任首席法官李國能一貫與政治保持距離,他就修例為本報撰文,罕有地從政治層面批評政府「犯下嚴重的政治判斷失誤」;對於抗爭行動,他除了表示對港人遊行和平有序「印象深刻」,對於非法和暴力行為,認為「必須人人譴責」。李國能說,「衝擊立法會的場面醜陋和令人震驚。在法治之下,這不可容忍。法律被故意違反,涉事的人必須被法律追究,如果他們在公平審訊後被判罪成,法庭應該考慮具阻嚇力的刑罰」。李國能對法治的認知與執著,應該不會遭到質疑,他對修例風波涉及的非法和暴力行為,幾句論述言簡意賅,值得頭腦發熱的人深思和反省。

除了譴責非法和暴力行為,李國能的文章更多是建言。他期望:特首下重要決定前,應該鼓勵政府內部有廣泛的討論;特首對中央政府和香港特區負責,「她必須為香港人更多發聲,並彰顯於人前」;出任公職者必須銘記不要凌駕市民行使家長式管治,「他們是人民公僕,應該謙卑服務,並應受到輿論監督」。這3點切中政府在今次風波之弊,點出了內部決策失誤、特首須更多地為港人發聲、人民公僕收起家長意志等,批評之餘,給林鄭班子灌注正能量,期望他們更好地服務香港。

李國能主張撤回修例,毋須等到明年今屆立法會會期完結時草案失效,他認為撤回有助和解進程。從政治現實審視,政府堅持不撤回修例,實際上持續給反對操作提供彈藥,各區示威遍地開花勢頭所見,正是「承此恩澤」。李國能提出撤回有助和解進程,是更深層積極作用。我們再促請政府:勿再固執或愚蠢下去,果斷地把殭屍埋葬了,撤回修例吧。

李國能提出撤回修例和獨立調查委員會調查今次風波,認為有助和解進程。按現今政府處境,如何與社會「再連接」,看不到有什麼頭緒,若要破局,這兩項舉措可能是現在政府能夠找到的鑰匙。

■Glossary

afresh﹕again, especially from the beginning or with new ideas

succinct﹕expressed clearly and in a few words

positivity﹕the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude

上 / 下一篇新聞