Former chief secretary Anson Chan has written an open letter to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, calling on her "friend and former colleague" to categorically withdraw the extradition bill, establish an independent commission of inquiry to look into the June 12 protests, and consider offering a blanket amnesty for anyone involved in potentially criminal acts on that day.
In the letter, Chan said she, like Lam, had devoted her whole career to the civil service and the welfare of Hong Kong people.
She urged Lam and her advisors to now acknowledge the gravity of the situation the government now finds itself in, and show themselves to be worthy of the trust placed in them.
She suggested three steps that Lam could take to defuse tensions, and restore lasting calm to the city's streets.
The first two are consistent with demands made by demonstrators, who have maintained their protests even after the government announced it would suspend the contentious extradition bill.
Chan said the Chief Executive should stop "juggling with semantics" and state categorically that she is withdrawing the extradition bill, adding that her refusal to do so would only invite suspicion and fuel anger.
She also wanted Lam to set up an impartial Commission of Inquiry, chaired by a senior member of the Judiciary, to look into the disturbances on June 12 and the response of the police force.
She said she believes such an inquiry would be vital to restoring people's trust and respect for the force – which she pointed out had maintained safety and served with courage and integrity for many years.
Chan said frontline officers should not be attacked simply for following orders and doing what they believed was their duty to maintain law and order.
She also hoped the Chief Executive would consider offering a one-off amnesty to all involved in potentially criminal acts on June 12 – protesters and police alike.
She said if Lam could make these concessions, she trusts that the community would refrain from further action that may disrupt the normal life of the city.
Anson Chan calls on Carrie Lam to mend divisions
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