10/16/2019, 09.46
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Carrie Lam forced to do her Policy Address on video. Opponents: Resign

by Paul Wang

The chief executive had to give her speech to the Legco (parliament), but it was interrupted several times. More than 70% of Hong Kong's population wants her resignation.

 

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Chief Executive Carrie Lam has been forced to proclaim her Policy Address 2019 via video, after being interrupted many times by opposition groups in parliament demanding her resignation.

The annual Policy Address traces the "state of the territory" and marks the operational lines of government policy. Usually it is pronounced at the resumption of parliamentary work (Legco) after the summer break. This year the parliament was also closed due to the anti-extradition demonstrations that followed one another in Hong Kong for 19 weeks.

Lam was to speak at 11am this morning, but even before she reached the Legco buildings, a group of democratic parliamentarians began shouting the slogans of the movement: "Five demandss, not one less" and "Carrie Lam resign, take responsibility for police violence ".

For four months the movement has called for "five demands": the cancellation of the extradition law in China, an independent investigation into the excessive use of force by the police; the non-definition of "revolt" at events; the amnesty for all those arrested; full democracy in the territory.

Five demands, not one less

After three months of demonstrations, Lam agreed to cancel the law, but avoided any response to the other questions. According to many analysts, her silence pushes the more radical fringes of the movement to despair and violence.

While Lam tried to hold her speech on the podium, the words "Five demands, not one less" were projected behind her; (photo 1) other parliamentarians wearing a mask of Chinese President Xi Jinping demanded his resignation, since he has "both hands dripping with blood" for violence against demonstrators (photo 2). The use of the mask was a gesture of defiance of the emergency law imposed by Lam, which prohibits wearing masks in public meetings, in an attempt to bend the demonstrations.

After a first and a second interruption, Lam left the Legco under protection. The Policy Address was broadcast on video at 12.15 (photo 3).

Many pro-Beijing parliamentarians criticized the Democrats obstructionism, much appreciated on the social networks of the anti-extradition movement. A comment states: "They spoke on behalf of 80% of the Hong Kongers".

According to a survey by the Ming Pao newspaper, more than 70% of respondents want  Lam’s resignation.

Subsidies for consturction, no political reform

 

In her televised speech, Lam expressed her hope that Hong Kong will emerge from the current downturn, maintaining the principle "One Country, two systems", which links the territory to China and at the same time guarantees a "high degree of autonomy".

One of the problems that young people suffer in Hong Kong is that they cannot buy a house because there have been no housing projects for many years. Lam has made several proposals on the use of land to build new social housing; aid to pay rent; improvements in services for the elderly and in health care.

But in her speech she did not propose any political reform, nor dialogue on full democracy as the movement demand. Lam did not address any other questions expressed by the protesters.

In her speech, Lam also gave some figures on the four months of demonstrations: there were more than 400 protests; over 1000 injured people; more than 2200 arrests.

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