Embattled chief of semi-autonomous Chinese language metropolis says authorities’s pressing precedence is to revive ‘constitutional order’ after the protests.
Hong Kong’s Chief Government Carrie Lam has labelled the unrest that rocked the territory final yr as “anti-regime”, lauding China’s imposition of a nationwide safety legislation for “restoring stability” within the metropolis, and promising that she would make “constitutional order” a precedence of her administration.
Lam made the feedback in her delayed annual coverage deal with, delivered earlier than the Legislative Council or LegCo simply two weeks after opposition legislators resigned en masse in protest in opposition to the dismissal of 4 colleagues, in what they mentioned was one other push by Beijing to suppress democracy within the territory.
Final yr, opposition council members disrupted her speech, accusing her of appearing as a puppet of Beijing.
She advised the half-empty legislature that her authorities’s pressing precedence was to revive the Chinese language-ruled metropolis’s “constitutional order” and pull its political system out from “chaos”.
Lam had postponed delivering her speech by greater than a month saying she wanted to go to Beijing for talks on how China may assist with Hong Kong’s restoration.
She positioned the blame for its financial troubles squarely on the protesters and their “unprecedented … anti-government acts” in addition to “interference by exterior forces”, whereas crediting the “proximity to the Mainland and the Central Authorities’s long-standing help” for what she predicts will probably be a fast rebound.
“The scenario in Hong Kong has developed to such a state that the Central Authorities had no various however to step in and take motion,” she mentioned.
Lam defends police motion
Amid criticism from human rights teams of abuse of energy and use of extreme power in opposition to protesters, Lam justified the “stringent legislation enforcement actions” taken by the police in opposition to “violent acts”, defending their actions as needed to revive order.
“If there may be proof that somebody violates the legislation, the offender should face authorized sanctions no matter his or her standing or background,” she mentioned.
“Nobody has any privileges below the legislation.”
China by-passed the LegCo and imposed a Nationwide Safety Regulation on Hong Kong on June 30, punishing what it mentioned had been acts of secession, overseas interference and sedition with a life sentence and permitting mainland safety providers to function within the territory for the primary time.
The transfer prompted sharp criticism from the UK – Hong Kong’s former colonial energy – and different Western international locations, in addition to the US determination to take away the territory’s particular financial standing and impose sanctions on Lam and another authorities officers.
It additionally led to the departure of some pro-democracy activists and introduced an finish to the rallies that started in June 2019 and had already been curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic and police rejection of permits.
Lam additionally mentioned the federal government deliberate to introduce a invoice to boost “oath-taking” by civil servants and conduct widespread public schooling “to boost the understanding of the rule of legislation”.
Final yr’s protests had been triggered partially by fears in Hong Kong that Beijing was whittling away the freedoms assured for no less than 50 years when the town was returned to Chinese language rule in 1997 below the “one nation, two techniques” framework.
In the meantime, Lam hinted that one other common coronavirus testing programme might be launched to comprise the unfold of the illness, following a current spike in instances that has compelled the authorities to tighten bodily distancing restrictions.
She mentioned Hong Kong was aiming for “zero an infection” in order that cross-border journey might be resumed as early as attainable.
The federal government launched city-wide testing in September, with greater than 1.7 million individuals examined.
Lam additionally mentioned that a few of China’s coronavirus vaccine can be reserved for the residents of Hong Kong, whereas noting that the town has already spent an equal of just about $40bn to struggle the pandemic.