Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a news conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Silva
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Hong Kong leader to hold dialogue with community aimed at easing tensions

27 Comments
By Clare Jim

Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, said on Tuesday she and her team would begin dialogue sessions with the community next week, while reiterating that violence that has roiled the city over three months of protests must end.

Lam, who is under pressure from Beijing to defuse the public anger stirring the protests, said the dialogue sessions would be as open as possible, with members of the public able to sign up to attend.

"Hong Kong society has really accumulated a lot of deep rooted economic, social and even political issues, I hope these different forms of dialogue can provide a platform for us to discuss," Lam told reporters at a weekly briefing.

She said the issues included housing and land shortages in one of the world's most densely populated cities of 7.4 million. Young people are particularly frustrated by the high cost of finding a place of their own to live.

"But I have to stress here, dialogue platform doesn’t mean we don’t have to take resolute enforcement actions. Suppressing the violence in front of us is still the priority," she said.

The former British colony has been roiled by nearly four months of sometimes violent protests.

The trigger for the unrest was an extradition bill, now withdrawn, that would have allowed people to be sent from Hong Kong to mainland China for trial.

But the demonstrators' demands have broadened to include universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into their complaints of excessive force by the police.

Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland - including a much-cherished independent legal system.

But many residents complain about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in Hong Kong's affairs despite the promise of autonomy.

Lam, who has been a focus of protesters' anger, capitulated to one of their main demands on Sept. 4, announcing the full withdrawal of the extradition bill.

But some said that was too little, too late, and the protests have continued.

Police on Monday said 89 people were arrested over the weekend after “radical protesters” attacked two police officers on Sunday evening, hurling petrol bombs and bricks.

Brawls also broke out between anti-government protesters and others who support Beijing.

Nearly 1,500 people have been arrested since the protests intensified in June.

The turmoil is beginning to hit the economy of the financial hub.

Credit rating agency Moody’s changed its outlook on Hong Kong’s rating to negative from stable on Monday, reflecting what it called the rising risk of "an erosion in the strength of Hong Kong's institutions”.

The institutional features that grant Hong Kong greater political and economic autonomy — together with the city’s intrinsic credit strengths — accounted for its higher rating than China, the agency said.

Lam said the Moody's decision disappointing.

"We do not concur, especially if the justification for that sort of change in outlook is premised on whether we’re still upholding 'one country two systems'," she said.

China also says it is committed to "one country two systems" and it denies meddling in Hong Kong while stressing it is an internal Chinese issue.

China has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments

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I trust that U are a very educated lady. We , Asians are one world. Distrust is created when some foreign bodies cannot attack strong real objectives in Asia, pls take a good study of history.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

The trigger for the unrest was an extradition bill, now withdrawn, that would...

Lam, who has been a focus of protesters' anger, capitulated to one of their main demands on Sept. 4, announcing the full withdrawal of the extradition bill.

Absolutely false reporting. Lam made vague statements about "promising" to "propose" a withdrawal. There was no actual action taken on this point, but many Western outlets misunderstood and claimed that the bill was killed. It was not.

reiterating that violence that has roiled the city over three months of protests must end.

That starts with the HK police, the mainland police/military who came over to pose as HK police, and the mainland thugs that have come over to cause problems and intimidate the HK protestors.

Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, said on Tuesday she and her team would begin dialogue sessions with the community next week,

Of course, discussions are needed and earnest discussions to bring peace are necessary. However, this will not accomplish that goal. Lam knows very well what the protestors are demanding - 5 points that have been chanted and published everywhere. Lam knows exactly what the problems are, from the protestors' standpoint. But Lam in all likelihood has zero power to enact any of those demands, even if she were so inclined. She's a puppet of Beijing with little to no power of her own. So, what's going to be accomplished from these talks? Again - they should have the talks. It's part of any civilized conflict resolution. But nothing will come of them.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I trust that U are a very educated lady. We , Asians are one world.

No, you are not. Just look at this situation. Look at the South Korea-Japan situation.

Distrust is created when some foreign bodies cannot attack strong real objectives in Asia, pls take a good study of history.

Democracy is not a foreign body to Asia. Taiwan, Japan, India, the Philippines, etc. are all democracies.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Ist, China must follow the agreement signed and honor it. It is that simple, they are not.

2nd: The appointed leader by China vs an elected Hong Kong official by the people of HK violates the first. If this puppet leader would step down and China stand by the agreement when HK was returned then that would end the qualms.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

rgcivilian1, what agreement ? what follow ? what honor ? The agreement is to return HK back to China, and everyone has to honor it, as simple as that. HK is China's HK, no other's business, that is the basis for any discussion.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

rgcivilian1, what agreement ? what follow ? what honor ? The agreement is to return HK back to China, and everyone has to honor it, as simple as that. HK is China's HK, no other's business, that is the basis for any discussion.

This is what the Chinese say because they don't care if they honor their agreements.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Chip Star, that is the agreement, honor it and keep democracy to yourself.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

"one country, two systems" formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland"

Totally false.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

What freedoms do the HK people enjoy that mainland don't have ?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

 The agreement is to return HK back to China, and everyone has to honor it, as simple as that.

Then perhaps you should read the text of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and of the Basic Law, and you might have a better understanding of Hong Kong's status and the rights of Hong Kong people. Both are written into the Joint Declaration. You'd sound less uninformed if you knew what was in it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Empty words when you are the puppet of China.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What freedoms do the HK people enjoy that mainland don't have ?

Did you hear about the bookshop owners who published stuff critical to Xie, disappeared, showed up in China.

There are a few who are still missing.

So I guess both Hong Kongers and mainlanders don’t really have much freedom.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

wipeout, any laws are based on principle laws, and the principle law is that HK is China's HK. Yes, there are some details to allow HK to keep certain aspects of old laws, but that doesn't mean that HK's colonial laws are better than other laws. It is just to help the transmission. Chinese people are open minded, Chinese culture are open culture, and Chinese civilization is open civilization. There is nothing to worry about to let HK to keep Colonial way for another 50 years. Colonial freedom will destroy itself for injustice inherited in its legal system. Just see what HK court did to the rioters.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Chip Star, that is the agreement, honor it and keep democracy to yourself.

What is "this"? I was referring to the handover agreement.

"one country, two systems" formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland"

Totally false.

Because the Chinesecrefuse to honor the agreement.

What freedoms do the HK people enjoy that mainland don't have ?

The right to be critical of the government and not be disappeared. The right to practice religion.

K to keep certain aspects of old laws, but that doesn't mean that HK's colonial laws are better than other laws

Agreed. What makes HK's colonial laws better are the freedoms they protected and the communists are taking away.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What freedoms do the HK people enjoy that mainland don't have ?

Amusingly, the freedom to do what we are doing here; discuss the actions of the CCP without fear of your door being kicked down. You may also do that in China of course, but make sure you do it inside your own head. Otherwise you will be arrested and imprisioned.

but that doesn't mean that HK's colonial laws are better than other laws.

HK people think they are, and China guaranteed them until 2047. So show some honour.

Chinese culture are open culture, and Chinese civilization is open civilization.

How so? By imprisoning a million Uighurs? You don't have to believe everything your masters tell you.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Akie: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2018/04/03/magazine/the-case-of-hong-kongs-missing-booksellers.amp.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If the CCP allows you to read that webpage, obviously.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I hear you but I am not listening.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Corruptions are punished from top down since ancient time.

This would explain why Xi hasn't been punished for amassing a personal wealth of billions, but his opponents and publishers of books on the matter have. Bloomberg reported this, then were quickly thrown off the mainland.

China is safer place than Japan

Not for people who express an opinion considered dangerous to the CCP or those who happen to follow a different religion.

Just compare HK courts to the Chinese courts

You can't, as one serves the party, the other the citizens. Can you work out which is which?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What time of year is the Yulin festival?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lam is 3 months too late.

She needs to resign and move away. Probably to Beijing to be told by her handlers that everything will be fine, before she is disappeared.

Open elections are necessary for peace in Hong Kong where the locals select who runs and select all their representatives. This is the only viable solution.

Hong Kong is part of China. Mainland Chinese will follow later with their own democratic reforms. They will eventually tire of having a master tell them what to think, what they can say, where and when they can travel. Chinese people are smarter than to continue being dictated what is best for them. They can decide for themselves.

China certainly has learned capitalism very well. It is clear that the pro-Beijing posts are well paid.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@ theFu

Chinese people are smarter than to continue being dictated what is best for them.

Have your heard of Stockholm syndrome?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hong Kong is part of China. Mainland Chinese will follow later with their own democratic reforms. They will eventually tire of having a master tell them what to think, what they can say, where and when they can travel. Chinese people are smarter than to continue being dictated what is best for them. They can decide for themselves.

I was talking to a very pro-China mainlander on Sunday night who said exactly this. It gave me some hope at least.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

OoopsieToday 09:20 pm JSTEmpty words when you are the puppet of China.

Lam is not to be trusted. She has shown that already, she is on the CCP''s leash.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What freedoms do the HK people enjoy that mainland don't have ?

Knowing “the truth” about the mainland and knowing that they won’t any part of its political indoctrination force fed onto them

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The deal is: One Country, Two Systems.

So long as China sticks to the deal, there will be no protests.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What benefit does colonial system bring to HK ?

HK was returned back to China in 1997.

China opened to the world in 1996.

The GDP of HK:

1960, $1.3 billion;

1976, $13 billion;

1996, $169 billion;

2017, $341 billion.

Clearly, HK benefits from China, not from Colonization. From 1960 to 1976, GDP only grew by $10 billion, in 16 years. That was the benefit and freedom of being poor, brought to HK by the beloved King and Queen.

On the other hand, since returned back to China, HK grew by $170 billion, in 20 years, doubled GDP.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

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