Independent review on HK unrest a right step: Zeman
Updated: 2019-12-02 08:14
By Joseph Li in Hong Kong(HK Edition)
Tycoon says studies are also needed for the police to review and improve their approach to handling violence
The government's proposal to create an Independent Review Committee to find why and how the violent protests happened and what to do in their aftermath would be a step in the right direction if Hong Kong is to move on, Lan Kwai Fong Holdings Chairman Allan Zeman said.
However, the business tycoon does not support the idea of an independent statutory inquiry, which the protesters are demanding, because such an inquiry would target only the police.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor unveiled the idea of the Independent Review Committee after the District Council Election last week. Its purpose is to look at the cause of the nearly six months of social unrest; identify the underlying problems; and recommend what measures the government should take to address the problems.
Zeman told China Daily in an exclusive interview: "An independent study will be very important for Hong Kong to heal the wounds, to move forward and prevent similar incidents from happening again. The committee, like similar committees in the wake of riots in South Africa, England and other countries, shall find out why it started, how it started, who is to blame, and the endgame.
"Individual officers are not to blame and should not be singled out. Instead, the way police handled the violent disturbances in general should be analyzed to help the police force to review and improve their methods and operations in future."
He expects the city's police watchdog - the Independent Police Complaints Council - to come up with a report on the saga of the now-withdrawn extradition bill sometime this month, and said he believes that will provide some insights for police.
Zeman is aware that many people have likened the unlawful, violent protests to influences or support of external forces in the United States and Taiwan, citing the National Endowment for Democracy and the CIA in particular as "the black hands behind the scene".
"The committee can as well investigate if external forces or black hands behind the scene and financiers who pay the violent protesters on the front line are involved and whether this is really a 'color revolution' that some people alleged," he said.
On the composition of the review committee, he said the members, be they local people or foreigners, should have investigation experience and good credibility, regardless of their political backgrounds. "The result of the study will likely be accepted by society if the committee members are trustworthy people," he said.
Zeman also stressed the importance of having a person of huge credibility and trustworthiness, such as a judge or a retired judge, to lead the independent review and even offered a suggestion.
"Former Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Andrew Li Kwok-nang is a very suitable person, given his good reputation and huge credibility," Zeman said.
As to how much time is needed for the independent review, Zeman said the quality of the report to provide solutions and recommendations is more important, and there is no need to rush to complete the report within the tenure of the current government.
(HK Edition 12/02/2019 page4)