Following the release of an open letter late Saturday night by protesting students calling for Chinese regime leader Xi Jinping to dismiss Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying, Leung appeared on Hong Kong television on Sunday and called the Occupy Central movement “out of control.” In response, the two student organizations and Occupy Central organizers soon published a joint statement, condemning Leung for shirking his responsibility.
Since the start of Occupy Central on Sept. 28, which calls for implementing universal suffrage in the election of the Hong Kong chief executive in 2017, Leung has refused protesters’ requests that he personally meet with them.
Talks between the protesters and the Hong Kong government that had been scheduled for Oct. 10, were cancelled on Oct. 9 by Leung’s second-in-command, Carrie Lam, who claimed the student leaders had “seriously undermined” the talks.
Instead of having talks with the protesters, Leung has responded to Occupy Central by broadcasting several pre-recorded speeches on TV and once being interviewed on TV.
Late at night on Oct. 11, the students issued an open letter addressed to Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping that argued that Xi’s dismissal of Leung would be consistent with Xi’s policies.
In the interview with Hong Kong’s TVB on Oct. 12, Leung stated that the development of Occupy Central “has spun out of control.”
When asked who ordered that 87 tear gas canisters be fired at peaceful protesters on Sept. 28, Leung put the responsibility on the Hong Kong police.
“It completely relied on the professional police decision and professional training. It’s a police action,” Leung said. “I’m not passing the buck to the police.”
However, when asked who ordered to stop the violent crackdown, Leung gave an ambiguous answer. “I’ve participated in the overall situation. But the police stopped the action when people had no strong collisions with the police,” Leung said.
“We can’t interfere with the police enforcement at the scene,” Leung said.
In response to Leung’s words, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, the student organization Scholarism, and Occupy Central published a joint statement that argued for Leung’s resignation.
“It is our government that is out of control—a government that fires tear-gas at unarmed citizens and unilaterally terminates dialogue with the students.” the statement says.
“How can he, as the leader of our accountable officials, try to muddle through without explaining the truth to the public, without punishing officials guilty of dereliction of duty?” the statement says. “If the government refuses to account for its actions, we must assume Leung Chun-ying was solely responsible, and that he should take on the responsibility wholly, by stepping down.”
In the TV interview Leung said, “I don’t believe my stepping down can solve the issue.”
Leung also described as “impossible” the protesters’ request that Beijing withdraw the decision made at the end of August that gave the Chinese regime control over who would be nominated to run in the chief executive election.
In the TV interview, Leung ignored the uproar in Hong Kong about the teargasing of the protesters on Sept. 28 and the attacks on the protesters by thugs in early October, while police did little to protect the protesters. He also did not comment on why he has not reached out to communicate directly with the protesters.
The protesters’ joint statement says, “He has failed to directly face the people and explain himself in the fifteen days since force was used against citizens who were exercising their freedom of assembly.”
The statement also claims that a report submitted by the Hong Kong government misled the central leadership. As a result, Beijing issued the late-August decision on the chief executive election, which the statement claims violates the spirit of the Basic Law.
“The responsibility for the erroneous decision rests with the Leung Chun-ying government.” the statement says.
On Oct. 8, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article claiming that Leung had taken millions in secret payments from an Australian company while chief executive. The scandal has increased the public appeals for his stepping down.
The protesters’ statement called for an investigation of Leung. “As the central government strengthens its resolve to crack down on corruption, how can Leung crave to cling onto power and drag the central leadership through the mud?”
“We urge Hong Kong’s law enforcement agencies and legislators to act fairly, and to immediately launch an investigation.” the statement says.