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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 2:57pm
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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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More on this story

No excuse for barracks protest
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.
caractacus
Only by standing up and demanding honest government and free and fair elections will people ever get any fairness from this government
HK's rotten ruling elite should be made to quake in its boots. That's the only way to make them respect the people.
caractacus
So it's "do as you are told or you won't get what the Basic Law promises."
Given HK's history since 1997 of sliding into corruption at the very top, ever greater administrative incompetence and rampant collusion with developers while Beijing stands by and tolerates this state of affairs, how can the CCP be trusted to act in the interests of the people?
sam.gillespie.184
US ambassador Gary Locke said that he visited Hong Kong in 1988 (before the handover, till under English colonial rule), he was astounded by the poverty and debilitating state of Hong Kong society, and now in 2013 (when Hong Kong is part of China) he marveled at Hong Kong transformation into a modern world class city.
caractacus, if you don't like the way Hong Kong is run, you should leave.
Byebye
I do not agree with these people breaking into the PLA barracks, neither do I agree to what the Chief Secretary said. The situation might be the result of some hot blooded people trying to show their lack of trust in their situation, perhaps in the ways things are progressing or the uncertainties arose out of lack of assurance of HK future from the authorities, be it China or SAR. Lets remember we are still under one country two systems.
village2206
Ms Lam was appointed by the Beijing Authorities to assist in operating what was once a fairly steady foreign occupied colony. What ever anyone says in these columns, the simple fact is that this place belongs to Beijing and their party rules apply -- under Basic Law if you will. Whatever they decide is final-- whether we like it or not. We can scream and fuss as much as we like-- and we do seem to do that in what is generally a peaceful way. Unfortunately there are those amongst us that always go "over the top", both in public and within the local constitutional framework made up mainly of fat cats or those that cannot resist the opportunity for a good monthly salary thinly disguised as being pro active for the sake of the community. So Ms Lam's cautionary warning does come from the horses mouth and what ever you may wish to see it as... you have to read it as the party speaking. Do what you like-- say what you like- have your fun-- they will have the last laugh. If you look around the world you can see that subtle creep is the party formula-- don't be misled by local insularity. The real problem in HK is the lack of quality political ability-- I reckon Beijing is all too familiar with that major obstacle. The warning is real!
johnh
Can you please explain exactly how four unarmed flag carrying protestors managed to "break into" a military compound? Were those military grade high explosive armor piercing flags they were carrying???
aplucky1
thanks carrie, we will take your advice
NOT
johnfra
You said she is here to serve Beijing. You are wrong, she is here to serve herself, like all civil servants. Bend with the ones in authority, do as little as possible so as to make as few mistakes as possible, and retire with the proverbial golden egg.
caractacus
A trespass by 5 immature kids is not a provocation. What should HK people do then? Appease Beijing?
Would it be provocation if we do not stand by and never protest or complain about the corruption pervading the top levels of HK's Government?
Tyrants never respect the law or the law abiding.
ejmciii
Interesting view of the basic law and the agreements made that led to the handover. Well, at least the PRC ministry of propaganda's views. Thank you for the public service, comrade.
superdx
The protest marches in 2014, 2015 and 2016 are going to be massive
ejmciii
I am the boss, pal.
Will.I.Am
Yeah I bet you two tell off your boss every time you see something you don't like in the office.
sam.gillespie.184
caractacus, you should leave Hong Kong if you don't like it.
ejmciii
Like the one spying on us in Admiralty?????
ejmciii
And that presents a very good lesson for the Taiwanese. HK had no choice. The Brits sold HK out to get what it wanted, but did some good on the way out that they never did when here. Taiwan is different. It is a democracy and it will be interesting to see how our masters in Beijing try to sell them on giving up their vote for the opportunity to be ruled by the progeny of Mao and his happy band of psychopaths. It is good to live in interesting times.
Will.I.Am
Big deal lah boss! Go tell off your client lor!
ejmciii
And now, Beijing is in authority, so apparently not wrong, son. And not unlike the Dark Lord, the Party does not share power.
raglan
Agreed, superficially this seems like a small act, however in essence it's domestic terrorism....
caractacus
Perhaps in the US case it was because the base was restricted. What would happen if someone tried to get into a sensitive PLA facility?
mystoragehk2013_
****mystoragehk.blogspot.hk/2014/01/my-storage-your-first-choice-for-mini.html
ejmciii
Kindly pass along evidence of where same has happened. I would be curious.
ejmciii
Whatever, loser.
ejmciii
What I like is you are not even intelligent enough to see you proved the point. Gotta love that.
Will.I.Am
Sad, you need a life

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