Hong Kong pro-democracy figure steps back from politics

Territory's former chief secretary Anson Chan nevertheless urges young generation not to lose hope

Anson Chan announces withdrawal from political engagements. 

Anson Chan announces withdrawal from political engagements.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Hong Kong chief secretary and a strong supporter of democracy, Anson Chan (陳方安生), announced Friday (June 26) her intention to step back from "civic and political engagements" following the recent passing of her daughter.

In a short statement, Chan explained her withdrawal from politics would allow her to spend more time with her family and recover from the "devastating" loss of her daughter who died last month. The well-respected political leader said she had previously promised her two children she would retire from politics at 80, her current age.

Chan emphasized that Hong Kong had been and always would be her home, as she urged young people "not to lose hope for their future" and continue to "hold fast to the values" that the special administrative region is built upon. She expressed her hope that Hong Kong's youth would pursue their ideals in a lawful and peaceful manner.

According to CNA, Chan served as the head of Hong Kong's civil service before and after British colonial rule. She is regarded as one of the most influential political figures in Hong Kong's history and has been a vocal advocate for democratic reform in the city, after her retirement in 2001.

Sometimes referred to as Hong Kong's "Iron Lady," Chan had publicly warned the territory's citizens about diminishing autonomy under Beijing's "one country, two systems" framework. She also wrote an open letter to current Chief Executive Carrie Lam last June, advising the Hong Kong official to reject the extradition agreement with the Beijing government, reported ETtoday.