An Open Letter to Chief Executive Carrie Lam

First published: 13th June 2019

Dear Carrie Lam

I can see that you are very stressed by current events, and I hope that you can resolve the situation satisfactorily soon.

However, I would like to remind you of your description of President Xi Jinping's position in your policy address a year ago , "President Xi recognises that Hong Kong, with its solid foundation in science and technology and a pool of high quality technology talent, is an important force in implementing the nation’s innovation-driven development strategy and building an innovative country, and renders his support for the development of Hong Kong into an international I&T hub."

Success in Innovation and Technology requires creativity, research, critical thinking and argumentation. President Xi has recognised that Hong Kong has skills in these areas that can contribute to the development of the country.

Significantly, these skills are transferable. Once learned, they are naturally applied beyond science and technology to all areas of life, socially, culturally and in law and politics. Unfortunately, if these skills are suppressed in one area, it becomes difficult to apply them in other areas. Creativity is stifled if ideas must be pre-approved; developing working innovations fails when discussing flaws is discouraged.

In your more recent remarks, you have said that you see no reason to withdraw the extradition bill. I respectfully suggest that you should spend some time listening to the 3,000 lawyers who marched against it last week, I am sure they can explain some very coherent reasons. You could also listen to some of the one million peaceful protesters (I was among them) who marched last Sunday (I know the Police put the peak participation at 240,000, but you should be more concerned with the total number of participants in assessing Hong Kong opinion). These are the high quality talent that President Xi recognises, and many were protesting for the first time. With their skills of research and critical thinking, they concluded that it was important to oppose this law. Rational people do not give up their day-off to swelter in the sun for hours without first researching and understanding the issue.

I would like to mention one, perhaps obscure, concern that relates to my profession. In the bill, there is provision for search and seizure under existing criminal procedures, so computers and data storage may be seized and passed on to the other jurisdiction, which may not follow the high standards of the Hong Kong Police in protecting evidence from misuse and disclosure. As an Information Security Professional, I must consider the risks that this presents to international corporations that ask for my advice. If any employee or contractor who has access to the corporation's data centre is accused of a crime in, for example, China, then the information assets in the data centre could be seized and handed over for Chinese investigation. Trade secrets could be misused and disclosed outside of the investigation, at very great cost to the corporation. Think what this risk will do to Hong Kong's data centre businesses.

Fortunately, you have a way out. Reach out to the peaceful protesters, particularly the democratic camp of lawmakers, recognise Hongkonger's strength of feeling, and withdraw this deeply flawed bill.

Finally, I would like to remind you of the trigger for introducing this bill: justice for the young Hongkonger murdered in Taiwan. If the bill does not result in the suspect returning to Taiwan to face trial, then it has failed. If you proceed in pushing through the bill when Taiwan has stated it will not apply for extradition under it, then you reveal that your motive is not justice but something far darker.


Allan Dyer
voter in the Hong Kong Island and IT Constituencies

Updated: 13th June 2019

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