At least 230 civil servants from more than 40 bureaus and departments have issued an open letter to the Hong Kong government, threatening industrial action if the administration continues to ignore the demands of anti-extradition bill protesters.
The open letter was addressed to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng-yuet ngor, executive council members, bureau and department heads and lawmakers. It came with photos of staff cards, but their names and photos were covered up, according to a post on social media.
The civil servants who signed the letter also included clerical staff working for the police. The letter said that as members of the civil service, they had been working hard to provide quality services and remained neutral and supported the government.
However, they said events in the past two months showed the government had refused to listen to the public and act, violating its position of serving the citizens.
They also criticized the police’s delayed response to the Yuen Long attacks last Sunday, when armed men dressed in white T-shirts attacked passengers and journalists in an MTR station.
“When the majority in the society disagrees with the policy made by our government, being civil servants, we should respond to the public’s demands reasonably. Today we decided to break our silence, to strongly urge the government to respond to those demands,” the letter said.
The letter called on the government to respond to the five demands of the anti-extradition protesters – to withdraw the now-suspended extradition bill completely, investigate the police’s decision to fire weapons at protesters, stop all prosecutions against protesters and to retract the classification of “rioting” on June 12 clashes between protesters and police outside the Legislative Council building.
They also called for the city chief, justice chief Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, security chief John Lee Ka-chiu and police commission Stephen Lo Wai-chung to step down.
The letter said they would organize concrete industrial action if the government continues to ignore public opinion, “so that we could humbly join hands with the community at large and fulfill our responsibility as servants of our fellow citizens.”
A staff member from the Innovation and Technology Bureau, who signed the letter and gave his surname as Chan, said that possible action included working to rule or a strike, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
The open letter came after a statement by 400 executive officers working for the government on Wednesday.
The statement from different government departments also condemned the chief executive and her administration over their handling of the extradition bill saga. They also said they regretted the responses Carrie Lam and Stephen Lo made after the Yuen Long attacks, adding that they did not show responsibility.
The officers urged the government to respond to the protesters’ demands and also to set up a commission of inquiry. There are about 3,500 executive officers in the government.
Earlier this week, more than 30 former government officials and politicians appealed to the chief executive to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the extradition bill saga.
They said the breakdown of the relationship between the people and police “cannot continue.”
Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fong On-sang, former civil service chief Denise Yue Chung-yee, former secretary for the civil service Joseph Wong Wing-ping, former director of housing Tony Miller and pro-democracy leaders Audrey Eu and Yeung Sum were among the list of signatories.
They said they’ve seen the Hong Kong community torn apart and an independent probe was the only mechanism to heal the wounds and start reconciliation in the community.