Patten urges independent probe, political reform - RTHK
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Patten urges independent probe, political reform

2020-02-04 HKT 03:38
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  • Chris Patten says it would be difficult to restore faith in the police 'without a transparent accounting'. File photo: RTHK
    Chris Patten says it would be difficult to restore faith in the police 'without a transparent accounting'. File photo: RTHK
The last British governor of Hong Kong on Monday called on the Carrie Lam Administration to hold an independent inquiry into the months of anti-government protests as well as police conduct and political reform in the SAR.

Delivering Hong Kong Watch’s inaugural Paddy Ashdown Memorial Lecture, Chris Patten said an independent inquiry, reform of public order legislation and political reforms should all form part of a road map towards the reconciliation of Hong Kong society.

"Most important of all, if Hong Kong is to return to normal and to rehabilitate the reputation of the police there should be a proper independent public inquiry into the reasons for the demonstrations, the behaviour of the demonstrators, and the conduct of the police," Patten said.

"The idea that the existing police complaints machinery is adequate to the task is plainly nonsense. The international experts who were asked by the government to advise on how this body could become more credible resigned rather than associate themselves with an impossible task," Patten said.

"Would such an inquiry destroy the morale of the police service? More likely it would demonstrate that the police were put in an impossible position by the government."

He warned that it would be difficult to restore faith in the police "without a transparent accounting".

He compared such an inquiry with the commission that he led in Northern Ireland, which reformed the police.

"We had a series of open, public meetings that gave transparency to the whole question of reform. An inquiry could do the same as well as providing a pause in the on-going turbulence," Patten said.

He also called for reform, including a possible amnesty.

"There is also a case for revising at the same time, or subsequently, public order legislation and its relationship to the terms of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which is written into Hong Kong's constitution," Patten said.

He also called for reform on broader political issues, including the election of the Chief Executive,

He also urged Beijing to engage in dialogue with political parties and the community on "how to begin a process leading to the outcome Hong Kong was promised by Communist leaders before and immediately after 1997".