Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam will meet the public next Thursday for a two-hour “Community Dialogue” session, after promising to build a platform earlier this month for exchanging views on the political crisis.

Lam will meet 150 members of the public, who will be chosen randomly from a pool of applicants. Hong Kong identity cardholders are eligible to apply for the event, either through an online form or at Home Affairs Enquiry Centres.

September 5 Carrie Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The event will be held at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium on September 26 from 7pm to 9pm; successful applicants will be notified two days before.

“The session will be an open dialogue platform aimed at reaching out to the public to invite people from all walks of life to express their views to the Government, so as to fathom the discontent in society and to look for solutions,” the administration wrote in a notice.

Lam on Tuesday proposed three types of dialogue events: one would allow the public to sign up, while the remaining two types would be invitation-only group discussions.

Hong Kong has seen more than three months of demonstrations and unrest triggered by the soon-to-be-withdrawn extradition bill, which would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to mainland China. Large-scale peaceful protests have morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment and alleged police brutality.

queen elizabeth stadium
Queen Elizabeth Stadium. Photo: GovHK.

Lam first proposed a platform for dialogue last month, but details were only revealed on Tuesday, which she said was because designing the platforms took time.

At the Thursday event, participants will be barred from bringing items such as flags, umbrellas and “defensive equipment” such as mask respirators and helmets into the venue. Other restricted items include megaphones, sound amplifiers, banners, bottles and canned drinks.

“While participants can express their views, they will respect other participants and different opinions. Participants will not disrupt the dialogue, cause nuisance, inconvenience or danger to other parties or use foul language,” read a guidance note.

September 15 china extradition
Photo: May James/HKFP.

“All participants regardless of political stances or background can express their personal views. Government representatives will listen to the views of the public in a sincere, open and inclusive manner.”

There will be security checks at the venue, and organisers may deny entry to, or remove, anyone who breaks the rules.

On Tuesday, the Lam administration also set up a “Dialogue Office” under the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office, which will be headed by retired senior civil servant Warner Cheuk.

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Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.