Occupy leader Benny Tai has hit back at Chief Executive Carrie Lam's condemnation of what she calls his 'pro-independence' remarks, asking if merely thinking about various options for Hong Kong's future amounts to incitement.
Lam had earlier in the day made her first public comments about the row over Tai's speech at a Taiwan forum last month, saying she had watched a video of the event and said that the government was justified in issuing an official statement condemning the academic.
The statement was issued by a government spokesman last week, blasting Tai over his remark that Hong Kong should consider its options – including independence – should China ever become a democracy. Lam then broke her week-long silence on the row on Friday by saying it is unacceptable for anyone to 'incite' people over independence and self-determination.
The Hong Kong university law professor questioned how his remarks in Taiwan would 'incite' people, asking if merely thinking about the options for Hong Kong's future amounts to incitement. He said he wonders whether this is a 'disproportionate' move to suppress freedom of speech.
The legal scholar also said the government's statement has deeply hurt his reputation as well as his state of mind, and it threatens not just his freedom to speak, but that of the public at large.
Tai also questioned if he is being personally targetted by the government, and asked if it has a political agenda for attacking him. He said the government has not made any comments after other people made comments explicitly supporting independence and self-determination.
He also criticised the administration for not giving him a chance to explain himself before condemning him, saying the government should have practised procedural justice before exercising its public authority.
Benny Tai hits back against CE's incitement charge
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