Chief Secretary Carrie Lam has said that “no-one can reject the charm of the former imperial palace,” as she told reporters why she was making a second visit to Beijing in under a week.

Lam – who is expected to enter the chief executive race – signed a cooperation agreement with Beijing’s Palace Museum last Friday. A HK$3.5 billion museum will be built at the West Kowloon Cultural District to display antiques from the Forbidden City on a long-term basis.

She returned to Hong Kong on Monday, but she then cancelled her holiday plans to fly to Beijing again on Wednesday to attend the opening ceremony of the Cultural Relics Hospital and the unveiling ceremony of the Jianfu Screen at the Palace Museum.

Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary Carrie Lam . File photo: Philippe Lopez / AFP.

In her speech on Thursday, Lam said she was very honored to visit the Palace Museum twice in a week.

“Many friends asked me: you are the chief secretary of Hong Kong, you have a lot of work to do, why do you visit the former imperial palace twice in a week?” she said. “My answer is: no one can reject the charm of the former imperial palace, so I am very honored to come again, so that I can personally congratulate friends at the palace for their achievements.”

Before she flew to Beijing, she said that she would not meet with central government officials during trip, nor would she discuss the chief executive election next year. She did not speak to reporters in Beijing.

Lam is tipped to enter the leadership race due to be held on March 26 next year. The nomination period is between February 14 and March 1.

File Photo: GovHK.

Meanwhile, a group of people calling themselves JR Team – referring to “judicial review” – started a petition urging a public consultation for the new museum at the West Kowloon Cultural District.

The petition will end at noon on Friday and will be sent to Lam, who is also the chair of the board at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

The JR Team said it will look into whether to apply for a judicial review on the basis of Lam’s reply.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.