Asia Pacific News

The Hong Kong leader delivers a defiant speech with swan song

#Hong #Kong #leader #delivers #defiant #speech #swan #song

Hong Kong’s leader delivered a defiant closing speech to lawmakers on Thursday and said she was “not ashamed” of her record, despite ending her tumultuous tenure with her approval ratings at an all-time low.

Carrie Lam’s five-year tenure as chief executive has coincided with massive and often violent pro-democracy protests, Beijing’s imposition of a draconian national security law, and a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 9,000 people.

She is on course to leave at the end of June, with the lowest approval ratings of any Hong Kong leader since the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

In her most recent appearance in the Hong Kong legislature, an emotional Lam told lawmakers, “I can boldly say I have borne a testimony I am not ashamed of and put an end to my 42 years of public service.”

Lam said her tenure was the “most difficult” period in Hong Kong’s history after the handover.

At the height of pro-democracy protests in 2019, Lam said in a behind-closed-doors meeting that she had caused “unforgivable” chaos and would quit if given the choice, according to a leaked recording.

But on Thursday she said she never considered stepping down, citing support from Beijing and her family and a sense of “historic mission”.

Since the demonstrations, Beijing has turned Hong Kong into its authoritarian image, introducing a national security law designed to effectively quell dissent, along with electoral reforms that have ousted pro-democracy figures from the legislature.

Lam said Hong Kong’s governance improved after Beijing intervened to put “patriots” in power.

Before the rule change, she said, her administration was frustrated by the city’s confrontational attitude and frequent filibusters in politics.

Her speech was warmly welcomed by the ‘patriots only’ legislation formed in December following the overhaul of the electoral system.

– Border with China remains closed –

During Lam’s tenure, she has also grappled with the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the virus was initially largely contained, an Omicron-powered fifth wave that erupted earlier this year claimed thousands of lives.

Infirmaries were swamped with patients and morgues crammed with bodies, prompting critics to accuse the government of being unprepared despite a two-year respite.

Lam’s government has adhered to China’s strict zero-Covid strategy, which uses rapid lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions to eliminate even the smallest outbreaks.

It has prioritized opening the border with mainland China over reopening to international travel, abandoning a city that was once a global logistics and transportation hub largely cut off from the rest of the world for most of the pandemic.

On Thursday, Lam dismissed the possibility of reopening the border with the mainland in the near future, saying it would be a complicated challenge.

“If we take what was discussed from September to December as a basis, we don’t see a possibility in the short term,” Lam said, referring to political negotiations between Hong Kong and Beijing before the Omicron attack.

“As is now clear, most foreign countries use a set of theories and measures to fight the epidemic, and our country has a different set of theories and measures,” she added.

“With us in the middle, we need to carefully consider what actions to take … which both sides can mentor.”

Social Tags:
#Hong #Kong #leader #delivers #defiant #speech #swan #song

You May Also Like

Health News

The cosmetic and facial plastic surgery practice is hosting a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting for its new Chattanooga state-of-the-art location.

Current News

“NEXT by TRT World Forum” Brought Together Globally Known Young Professionals

Current News

J & D Oriental Rug Co. sells antique and vintage carpets and rugs sourced from different regions with an inventory of over 6000 unique...

Top Stories

The Colombian Army has shared unprecedented images of the iconic San Jose Galleon shipwreck, which has been hidden underwater for three centuries and is...

Exit mobile version