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  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 4:27pm
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POLITICS

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor warns Hongkongers not to provoke Beijing

Chief secretary says 'extreme' acts such as the PLA barracks protest will only hinder Hong Kong's ongoing political reform efforts

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 5:20am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 10:05am
 

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Any provocative moves to annoy Beijing will only hinder Hong Kong's political reform push, the chief secretary warned yesterday.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor made the remarks in response to a break-in at the People's Liberation Army barracks in Admiralty last month by activists.

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office earlier expressed "grave concern" over the incident, saying the group of activists had disregarded the law when they forced their way into the barracks on December 26, and should be punished.

"These rather extreme and almost provocative acts are undesirable for our work on political reform," Lam told Commercial Radio's Saturday Forum yesterday. "Someone even uploaded a video [of the break-in] to the internet just after it happened; that just stirs up resentment."

She added that the PLA had adhered to the Basic Law in carrying out its duties, and any political debate in the city was nothing to do with the military.

"This sort of provocative move will only result in needless conflict in our community," Lam said.

Reiterating the importance of trust if a consensus was to be reached on electoral reform, Lam called on radicals not to carry out acts that were likely to irritate the central leadership and hinder the city's relationship with Beijing.

Hours after Lam's remarks, activist Lui Yuk-lin protested outside the Central PLA barracks. Police asked her to leave and the army closed the gate to the barracks for a while.

Four pro-independence activists were arrested and a fifth is being investigated for trespassing on the PLA base during the protest against the conversion of a prime harbourfront spot into a military berth.

Separately, Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun criticised Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as "narrow-minded", accusing him of banning his ministers from attending the Beijing-loyalist party's 20th anniversary dinner last month. Only several undersecretaries showed up for the dinner on December 16.

Tien suggested this could have been an effort to punish the party after it joined forces with the pan-democrats to back the ill-fated motion for an investigation into the government's free-to-air TV licensing decision.

"But it's impossible for the Liberal Party to accept every policy put forward by the government … our lawmakers' power comes from the voters, not the government," he told TVB.

Although the Liberal Party put pressure on the government over the TV licensing row, Tien said that it had not affected the party's relationship with Beijing. He added that the party was yet to hear from Beijing on the matter.

But Lam dismissed Tien's claims, saying the government treated all parties equally. She added that she could not attend the dinner because she was not in Hong Kong at the time.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, a 49-year-old man arrested on Friday for trespassing at the PLA headquarters in Admiralty has been granted bail.

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5 Jan 2014 - 5:11am

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This article is now closed to comments

cal10ten
Caractacus says ''A trespass by 5 immature kids is not a provocation.'' The point is that they broke the law regarding access to a restricted area -- a military barrack -- and have committed a serious offence. As anyone knows breaking into a military base is asking for trouble. The so-called immature kids (really? Come on, caractacus!!) did something provocative -- they were holding a British colonial-era flag in a PLA (read China) base. They ignored a People's Liberation Army guard's warning. If what they did was just some childish prank, why have political groups condemned their protest. These activists should be punished for breaking the law. HK seems to be becoming more ungovernable. That just plays into China's hands as it develops and grows. HK may just become insignificant over time.
ejmciii
No they would not be shot in the US or UK. They'd be arrested and likely let off with a warning. Your lack of knowledge is as amusing as it is telling.
johnh
How lame is it that THIS is the quality of our leadership in Hong Kong. Sniveling shoe shiners for the Communist Party is what we have to call our "top" politicians? Dear god, we need Democracy NOW!!!
mercedes2233
Like it or not, Carrie Lam is right. HK belongs to China, and HK is allowed a different style of govt than the rest of China. Provoke Beijing, and if it then withdraws these privileges, it will have every right to do so.
chuchu59
Carrie is not one to be perceived for speaking out for HK people. The more she says, the greater the resistance. Anyone with a grain of knowledge undersatands these acts are provocative but when these words come out of her mouth many find her annoying. She should stop talking to us as if we are toddlers. Please shaddup will ya Carrie?
cheechee129
Our right to protest is granted by the Basic Law and we are bound by the law at the same time. I really do not see the point for this unlawful break-in. If this incident happens in somewhere else, say the US or UK, the offenders are already shot.
chaz_hen
I beg to disagree... Post 9-11, if protesters breached the perimeter of a US military base, for sure they'd be met with extreme force and, in the zeal that "law enforcement" officers have these days, most likely would be shot or severely beaten.
US bases mostly use civilian security contractors now integrated with the regular military police and these "Rent-a-cops" are just chomping at the bit to use the weapons they've been trained on.
For sure they would not be merely let off with a warning.
captam
I agree with chaz_hen : These trouble-making loony trespassers are lucky not to have been detained at gunpoint or even shot, if they resisted.
In 2012 a BBC documentary team unlawfully entered a restricted US air force base and were detained at gunpoint and forced to lie on the ground for three hours. They were searched thoroughly, had their phones, wallets and I.Ds taken from them and then after interrogation later handed over, still under arrest, to civilian county sheriffs. They were prosecuted and at one stage faced six months imprisonment but luckily after intervention by the BBC and Washington were able to get off with very steep fines.
ianson
Lam's sheepish stance includes the implication that no matter what Beijing's position, no matter how outrageous, no matter how illegal, no matter how despotic, ultimately we have to fall into line. Hong Kongers have more backbone than her gutless fealty to the CCP.
ejmciii
She is just doing her job, like a dutiful tool of the Communist Party. She is not here to serve HK; she is here to serve Beijing. People here in HK are seeing through the veneer better and better each day, and that irritates Beijing to no end. This dance with democracy is not making them happy as it puts into stark relief the issues they will have to overcome if they want to convince Taiwan to give up its independence and become part of Communist China and giving up their right to self-determination is going to be a big step to ask the Taiwanese people to take. Sadly, Beijing thinks all it needs to do is sprinkle a few shekels here and there in their new colonies and everyone will buy into the Masters' plan. Governing is for princelings and those who are children of the Party, not for regular people.

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