Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that her government could work with the newly appointed director of Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong to restore “stability” to society.

Luo Huining, director of China Liaison Office in Hong Kong, has said that he hopes the city will return to “the right track” after months of pro-democracy protests. On Saturday, Luo replaced Wang Zhimin, who completed the shortest term out of all directors since the office’s establishment in 2000.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

But Luo, in his first public speech in Hong Kong, did not reiterate Beijing’s slogan “stop violence and curb disorder,” in reference to the unrest.

Lam said ahead of a weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday that she could not comment on the personnel change, but welcomed Luo’s appointment and will meet with him this week.

“I am sure that we could work together in strict accordance with the implementation of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and the Basic Law to ensure the continued stability of Hong Kong, especially after the seven months of social unrest that have caused society very major concern,” she said.

Lam said Hong Kong must put an end to violence and restore social order, adding that the city will face tough economic conditions in the coming year.

Since last June, protests over a now-axed extradition bill have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police action, amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment. Demonstrators are continuing to demand an independent probe into police behaviour, amnesty for those arrested, universal suffrage and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.”

Luo Huining. Photo: Stand News.

Newly-elected district councillors have been invited to attend a briefing session hosted by Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, though many from the pro-democracy camp have vowed to boycott it.

Lam previously met a group of defeated pro-Beijing district councillors last month. According to a column in the pro-Beijing Sing Tao Daily, Lam apologised to them and promised that they will be appointed to government committees.

Asked by a reporter if she will meet the new district councillors, Lam said it was the established practice for the chief secretary to host the meeting in order to brief them on their roles and functions.

“It’s, of course, a pity that I noticed that many district council members belonging to some political parties or groups have said in public that they would not attend this briefing. I hope they would change their mind because this is a briefing for us to give them information and also to listen to what they have to tell us,” she said.

Lam said the reception she hosted with pro-Beijing district councillors was merely to express her appreciation for those retiring in person. She added the government will continue to meet with new district councillors on various occasions.

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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.