I'm behind condemnation of Benny Tai: Carrie Lam - RTHK
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I'm behind condemnation of Benny Tai: Carrie Lam

2018-04-06 HKT 13:23
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  • I'm behind condemnation of Benny Tai: Carrie Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Friday escalated the government's attack on controversial comments by legal scholar Benny Tai, saying any attempt to advocate Hong Kong independence or self-determination is not acceptable.

She also brushed aside critics who've said the government's high-profile condemnation of the Hong Kong University academic amounts to an attack on the freedom of speech or academic freedom, accusing them of trying to divert attention away from the issue.

Lam broke her silence on the row one week after the government issued a statement expressing shock over Tai's comments at a forum in Taiwan last month, during which he had said Hong Kong should consider its options – including independence – should China ever become a democracy.

Lam took the initiative to tell reporters at a public event that she was behind the statement, saying she had watched footage of Tai’s remarks, and felt that the administration needed to condemn them.

"When we saw Benny Tai made the statements about Hong Kong independence at the very political activity in Taiwan, we must set the record straight. And so we issued the statement last Friday", Lam said.

The CE also said both the government and members of the public have a responsibility to protect China’s territorial integrity, and its security.

But Lam insisted that the row has nothing to do with paving the way to enact national security legislation – as Tai has suggested – or bringing in a tougher version of the shelved 2003 proposal that prompted half a million people to take to the streets in protest.

Without naming Tai, she said a 'certain individual' has been disseminating 'false information' to the public over the past few days, and she felt compelled to set the record straight.

That said, she noted that enacting such legislation as required under Article 23 of the Basic Law, is something that the government always needs to think about seriously, saying the laws are needed not only to protect national security, but the security of Hong Kong as well.

Some critics have also called on the Hong Kong university to sack Tai over his comments.

However, Lam said it's entirely a matter for Hong Kong University as to whether Tai should keep his job. She also said she's not the person to answer whether he has violated any laws, but said the Hong Kong government acts according to the law.

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Last updated: 2018-04-06 HKT 15:41