Letter from David Ford to Civil Servants of Hong Kong on 16 June 1989Translated by Chinese Language Authority, Civil Service Branch, written by David Ford
(In June 2018, a Facebook page Rufixation posted this letter, which was found in a former government department office. With authorization, we have typed the full text in English and Chinese for people to refer upon in the future.)
At this time, we in the civil service share with the community as a whole a profound feeling of shock and grief at the recent bloodshed in Peking. I am sure that you, like most people in Hong Kong, are watching with the concern the way in which the situation in China develops. We must all hope that the moves to modernize and liberalize China will be given fresh impetus in the years ahead.
Despite their anger the people of Hong Kong have reacted to recent events in China with tremendous dignity and restraint. This is particularly so in the case of the civil service and my purpose in writing to you is to thank you all for your dedication and responsibility in these troubled times. You have continued to provide the community with a standard of service of a level of which you can be proud, while at the same time demonstrating solidarity with the rest of the people of Hong Kong. Your loyalty to Hong Kong and all it stands for is highly appreciated.
The tragedy of recent weeks makes the role of the civil service even more important to the future of Hong Kong. There may be difficult times ahead, but we have faced difficult times before. No matter what the problems, Hong Kong has shown an ability to adapt and bounce back unequalled anywhere. I have no doubt that we shall do so again.
It would be pointless to suggest that what has happened has not had a major effect on confidence in the future of Hong Kong. I know that you must be deeply concerned. But this makes it all the more necessary for us, as civil servants, to work towards ensuring a stable, and prosperous Hong Kong both up to and beyond 1997. One thing that has emerged from this present situation is a unity of purpose in Hong Kong. We cannot go back, we can only go forward, plan ahead and build for the future. In going forward our duty and commitment is to Hong Kong and its people.
I realise of course that in difficult times it is the civil service that is in the front line, that it is that civil service who may bear the brunt of the community's concerns, and that it is the civil service to which many people time for leadership, guidance and help. I have set that confidence in the future of Hong Kong has been seriously affected; what has not been affected is the confidence in the civil service; its sense of duty and dedication and its commitment to serve the people of Hong Kong.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SECRETARY