Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced that her 2020 policy address will be postponed so that she can consult Beijing later this month. Lam shall instead travel to Shenzhen on Wednesday morning, where Xi Jinping is set to visit.

Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK screenshot.

Lam told the press on Monday that Hong Kong’s economic recovery needs Beijing’s support, so she was invited to travel to Beijing in mid-October to discuss matters with multiple ministries. She added that the address was postponed in the “public interest” so that policies supported by Beijing could be incorporated.

The new address will take place before the end of November: “[I]’d like to be able to use the 2020 policy address to instill more confidence amongst Hong Kong people, because Hong Kong people have endured a very difficult year – including Covid-19 and international sanctions. That’s why I’ve put forward proposals for the central government to consider, and they’ve responded [recently].” 

Shenzhen visit

Lam said she made the decision after meeting the legislative president Andrew Leung.

Xi will attend celebrations for the 40th anniversary of establishment of the Shenzhen special economic zone this week where he will deliver a speech, according to state-run agency Xinhua. The Chinese leader is expected to meet with Lam, as well as Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, according to an HK01 report citing establishment sources – however, Lam denied the report on Monday.

Xi Jinping China
Photo: RwandanGov. via Flickr.

Lam said the policy address has been postponed three times from October to January previously, therefore there was a precedent and no legal issue in the delay: “Should we give up the opportunity to deliver a better policy address, simply because the chief executive has to deliver it at the start of the legislative year?”

She said many policies related to livelihood issues had been announced during the course of the year – outside of the policy address – including various housing policy changes in June 2018 and January 2020. She said it was proof that the government will not withhold announcing relevant policies: “[T]his is a very good opportunity that no chief executive will forgo.”

Xi last met Lam during last year’s protests in December where he hailed her “courage.”

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Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.