Editor's note: This is a translation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's remarks to Hong Kong residents on Wednesday.
Throughout the day, you could all see the distressing scenes in the Admiralty area. These acts of rioting, which damage social peace and disregard the law, are intolerable in any civilized society that respects the rule of law.
Clearly, this is no longer a peaceful assembly but a blatant, organized riot, and in no way an act of loving Hong Kong.
This morning, some people in total disregard to public safety occupied and blocked carriageways, paralyzed traffic and gravely disrupted order in society.
Starting in the afternoon, some people repeatedly charged toward the police cordon line and carried out dangerous and even life-threatening acts, including setting fire, using sharpened iron poles and bricks to attack the Police and damaging nearby public facilities, thereby posing serious threats to the safety of the general public, the young people who intended to express their views peacefully, the reporters, police officers and civil servants. We must strongly condemn them.
I understand that the amendment to the ordinance by the Government this time has drawn strong positive and negative opinions in society and the Government has actively responded and explained many times. The fact is that since the return to the Motherland, issues involving the central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the mainland and Hong Kong, will be used by some people to stir up controversies and disputes. Intense confrontation is surely not the solution to ease disputes and resolve controversies.
I hope you can all calm down to consider that this is not the first time in recent years that we have seen such riotous scenes. Hong Kong is a free, open and pluralistic society that values different opinions on everything. However, there is a bottom line in regard to the means of expressing an opinion, be it a supporting or opposing view. If a goal can be reached by radical and violent means, such scenes will become more severe, which will definitely put Hong Kong in harm's way.
I hope that
society will return to order as soon as possible and I don't want any more
people to get injured in the riot. I appeal to all citizens who love this place
to stay away from violence. I believe that any problem can still be resolved in
Hong Kong, a civilized society, in a peaceful, rational and law-abiding manner
for the overall interests of Hong Kong.
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