Executive Council members on Wednesday lined up to defend Chief Executive Carrie Lam after her apology over the extradition row came under attack, with some critics describing it as lacking in sincerity.
The members of Exco also said Lam had refused to withdraw the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance because she needed to consider the feelings of both the opponents and supporters of the bill.
Executive councillor Ip Kwok-him said the Chief Executive's apology on Tuesday was a little different from what he expected, as she did not bow. But speaking on a radio programme, he said he doesn't agree that not bowing means her apology lacked sincerity.
"This time there's a lot of expectation that in terms of body language there would be a big bow, as many politicians here or overseas would bow in situations like this," he said.
"I've been in politics many years ... if I have to apologise I would use body language to help reinforce my words. Her body language may be different from what people had expected," Ip said.
He also sought to defend criticisms over Lam's refusal to withdraw the extradition amendments. He said suspending the bill is the same as withdrawing it in practical terms.
Ip said the Chief Executive did not use the word "withdraw" because she has to take into account the feelings of those who support the bill.
Another Exco member, Fanny Law, said Lam is a very sentimental person. Law said she believes this controversy has had the biggest impact on Lam's more than three-decade-long life in the government.
"During internal meetings with Mrs Lam, I can tell she's very sincere and that she really hopes society can give her another chance to continue to serve. She has helped carry out a lot of good work for Hong Kong over the years," Law said.
She expressed hope that society won't forget Lam's good work in the past just because of this one mistake. She added that she agrees suspending the extradition bill is a good middle ground to take, as it prevents upsetting both its supporters and critics.
Exco members line up to defend Carrie Lam
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