Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam has said she has passed on concerns to President Xi Jinping over the restrictive democratic reform package Beijing proposed for the city in 2014.

Lam was in the capital to receive her appointment as the SAR’s next leader. She met with Xi on Tuesday afternoon after meeting Premier Li Keqiang.

The August 31, 2014 decision by the Standing Committee of China’s top legislature stated that Hong Kong people could choose their leader with one-person-one-vote, but only after a nomination committee largely controlled by Beijing picks two to three candidates to face the public. The proposal sparked the 79-day pro-democracy Occupy protests.

Carrie Lam Xi Jinping
Carrie Lam and Xi Jinping. Photo: GovHK.

A political reform package formed under the framework, led by then-chief secretary Lam, failed to pass at the Legislative Council in 2015.

“During the meeting with President Xi, I have reported in detail how do I view Hong Kong’s situation, including the political scene. I have pointed out that Hong Kong citizens passionately hope for more democracy, and that they treasure the current freedoms and lifestyle,” she said.

“I have mentioned some concerns of Hong Kong people over the August 31 decision,” she said.

Lam said it was not convenient to speak about what the state leaders said on the issue.

Carrie Lam Xi Jinping
Carrie Lam and Xi Jinping. Photo: GovHK.

She said that the state leaders expressed hope that she could form an excellent governing team, who shared her ideals and are capable and responsible.

“[Xi] also noticed that I said during the campaign that, for anyone who fits with the criteria, their political views or camp they belong to would not be the main factor in forming the cabinet,” she said.

She said education will be one of the main policies she will focus on.

During the meeting, Xi was sitting at the head of the table, whilst Lam was at the side, suggesting a seating plan for a work conference, as opposed to the side-by-side seating arrangement five years ago for incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

Leung Chun-ying Hu Jintao
Leung Chun-ying meeting then-president Hu Jintao in April 2012. Photo: GovHK.

Xi said Lam had a firm stance on loving the country and loving Hong Kong.

“[You are] hard working, practical, responsible, full of administrative experience, in possession of an ability to handle complicated situations, highly recognised in Hong Kong society, determined, capable and responsible for the country and Hong Kong – [you] fit with the consistent standards of the central government for the chief executive – your election win is deserved,” Xi said.

Xi said Hong Kong has seen a lot of difficulties over the past 20 years, the some long-term contradictions have emerged gradually, especially in recent years.

“There are challenges and risks at this stage but there are a lot of opportunities and hope. As the new chief executive, you have great responsibilities, and a honourable mission,” Xi said.

Xi also stressed that the central government’s determination in implementing the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, ‘Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong’ and a high degree of autonomy will not be changed or shaken.

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.