HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam apologised to citizens for a second time on Tuesday (Jun 18) following mass protests in the city against an extradition Bill she had promoted and then suspended.
Protesters had demanded the proposed law, which would have allowed case-by-case extraditions to mainland China, to be withdrawn, and for Lam to step down.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, her first public appearance since two million people protested on Sunday, Lam gave no indication she was prepared to leave the role of chief executive.
READ: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam apologises, says she hears the people 'loud and clear' on extradition Bill
She also refused to say whether the Bill would be withdrawn, only that it would not be re-introduced during her time in office if public fears persist.
Here is what she said in full:
Fellow citizens, during large-scale public processions over the past two Sundays, people have expressed in a peaceful and rational manner their concerns about the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and their dissatisfaction and disappointment with the Government - especially me.
I have heard you loud and clear, and have reflected deeply on all that has transpired.
The concerns over the past few months have been caused by deficiencies in the work of the SAR (Special Administrative Region) government over the amendment exercise.
I personally have to shoulder much of the responsibility. This has led to controversies, disputes and anxieties in society. For this, I offer my most sincere apology to all people of Hong Kong.
Some of those who joined the processions, as well as my police colleagues who maintained law and order, and media workers covering the incidents were injured in the conflicts. I am very saddened by this.
During the several processions, we saw many people who love Hong Kong taking to the streets to make their views known to the government.
Parents took part for the sake of the next generation. Some who usually remain silent, and many young people, felt the need to express their opinions. I understand these feelings.
To those young people who participated peacefully to express their views, let me say I understand you expect your Chief Executive to listen to different voices, and to respect and care for young people.
I know you have different concerns and views about social issues, yet we share the same passion for Hong Kong. This incident has led me to realise that I need to do more.
I have never spared any effort to serve the public, but this incident has made me realise, as the Chief Executive, I’ve still got much to learn and do in better balancing diverse interest, in listening more to all walks of life, in taking our society forward.
I truly hope that those injured can fully recover soon, and that the rift in society could be quickly mended. Hong Kong is our home.
It is only by walking together as one community and by staying closely connected that we can bring hope for Hong Kong.
Thank you very much.