In the last two years, one of the policy areas that I have spent most time in is innovation and technology. Now, I actually personally chair the steering committee.
In less than three months' time, Hong Kong has been turned upside down, and my life has been turned upside down. But this is not the moment for self-pitifulness, although [name redacted] nowadays it's extremely difficult for me to go out. I have not been on the streets, not in the shopping malls, can't go to a hair salon, can't do anything because my whereabouts will be spread around the social media, the Telegram, the LIHKG, and you could expect a big crowd of black T-shirts and black-masked young people waiting for me.
I'm still brave enough to go and this afternoon, I'm still planning to go if my security guards tell me later on that I can still go. But it's really, I don't want to cause disruption, inconvenience to the organizers. But as I said, this is not the time for me to self-pity myself. This is a time I come here, and I do other closed-door sessions from time to time with people from all walks of life, and the two things I said is, it's not about self-pityness, it's about making a plea for forgiveness and then appeal for love.
I don’t want to spend your time, or waste your time, for you to ask me what went wrong, and why it went wrong. But for a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc to Hong Kong is unforgivable. It’s just unforgivable. If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology, is to step down. So I make a plea to you for your forgiveness.
This is something that no matter how well intended, I just want to put this message across. This is not something malicious. This is not something instructed, coerced by the central government. This is out of a good intention, myself and some of my key colleagues to try to plug legal loopholes in Hong Kong’s system, very much prompted by our compassion for a single case, and this has proven to be very unwise given the circumstances. And this huge degree of fear and anxiety amongst people of Hong Kong vis-a-vis the mainland of China, which we were not sensitive enough to feel and grasp. And, of course, it has been exaggerated and misrepresented through very effective propaganda, if I may say so.
But, of course, I’m sure in your hearts you will feel, and I’m sure a large number of people feel that I do have a solution, that is a political one. But I have to tell you that this is where the crux of the matter lies. Once an issue has been elevated to the situation [name redacted], to a national level, to a sort of sovereignty and security level, let alone in the midst of this sort of unprecedented tension between the two big economies in the world. The room, the political room for the chief executive who, unfortunately, has to serve two masters by constitution, that is the central people’s government and the people of Hong Kong, that political room for maneuvering is very, very, very limited.
Because we were not trained to have that sort of national perspectives, and I could only keep on putting in what I feel is the Hong Kong situation and the Hong Kong sentiments. But whether those Hong Kong sentiments could override the national perspective and the national sentiments? I’m sure you know that now 1.4 billion mainland people already have formed a view about what is happening in Hong Kong.
So, without going into a lot more details, I can only share with you discreetly that the room for me to offer a political situation in order to relieve the tension, nor to reduce the pressure on my frontline police officers in order to at least respond, or pacify the large number of peaceful protesters who are so angry with the government, with me in particular, of absolutely dead silence despite repeated participation in the protests, is what causes me the biggest sadness.
So without that, what other means we have is Hong Kong’s core value, that is the rule of law. The rule of law takes several forms, of course law enforcement, our police officers who have been suffering tremendously this time, especially on an occasion when they are supposed to celebrate 175 years of police establishment, and especially at a time when they were so proud of the crime figures which are still coming down. In fact, the first half year we still saw a drop of four percent of total crimes in Hong Kong, and that was the best seen in Hong Kong since 1972. And also they have commissioned a survey to commemorate this occasion done not by a pro-establishment group but by [name redacted], which indicated that confidence in the police after Occupy Central has rebounced to a historic high. That was the sort of background to how much the police have suffered.