HK’s Lam forced to abandon speech
HK leader abandons policy speech in legislature due to jeering lawmakers
HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam had to abandon her policy speech in the legislature yesterday because of jeering lawmakers.
But later she offered no direct olive branch to protesters, hoping instead to ease resentment by building public housing.
Ms Lam, who had to broadcast the annual address through a video link after the rowdy scenes in the city's assembly, hoped to restore confidence in her administration and address discontent after four months of anti-government protests.
She had to halt her initial attempts to deliver the address after pro-democracy lawmakers called out for "five demands, not one less" and projected the protest rallying cry onto a backdrop behind her.
The protesters' demands include universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into what they say has been excessive force by police in dealing with demonstrations.
"Any acts that advocate Hong Kong's independence and threaten the country's sovereignty, security and development interests will not be tolerated," Ms Lam said.
"Despite the stormy times and overwhelming difficulties Hong Kong is experiencing, I believe that so long as we accurately adhere to the principle of 'one country, two systems', we will be able to get out of the impasse."
Ms Lam later told a news conference that she had held "closed door" meetings with some members of the protest movement and when the unrest ended she would hold more to address the political situation.
But pro-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan said Lam should resign for failing to address the protesters' five core demands.
"Both her hands are soaked with blood. We hope Carrie Lam withdraws and quits," an emotional Ms Chan said at a news conference.
Ms Lam has rejected calls to step down.
She said her government would drastically increase housing projects and accelerate the sale of public housing schemes.
The measures Ms Lam announced are among the boldest in recent years to take back large tracts of land held by a handful of powerful developers.
"We are determined to create home ownership opportunities for people of different income groups such that they will happily make Hong Kong their home," Ms Lam said.
"I hereby set a clear objective that every Hong Kong citizen and his family will no longer have to be troubled by or pre-occupied with the housing problem, and that they will be able to have their own home in Hong Kong." - REUTERS