Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that she is very willing to meet and hear the views of members of the public now that “law and order has been restored” under the national security law.
Lam also described the Legislative Council as “more rational” following the resignation of all its opposition members.
In response to a question from HKFP about whether she can still hear the views of Hong Kong people after the mass resignation and cancellation of her Town Hall and legislative Q&As, Lam told a press conference she hoped to attend future public forums.
“I would very much like to go into the community to organise more sessions to meet with the people,” she said.
Referring to the pro-democracy protests which broke out in June 2019, she said she had been unable to engage in public dialogue since her appearance at public events last year attracted a “mobilisation of rioters.”
“Now… with the security law, law and order has been restored. Chaos has been replaced by peacefulness,” she said. “I am very willing, very ready to meet with the people of Hong Kong.”
Last November, Lam was trapped in a Wan Chai stadium for four hours following her first public forum as protests continued outside. Protests rocked the city over a since-withdrawal extradition bill last year, with millions peacefully demonstrating as a minority adopted more violent methods.
‘More rational’ Legislative Council
Lam also said this month’s mass resignation of pro-democracy LegCo members meant legislation could be passed more efficiently for the betterment of the public, calling the city’s diminished legislature “more rational.”
“I would say that with a more rational legislative council, it actually provides a much better platform for myself and my senior officials and my departmental colleagues to be engaged with the legislative councillors on issues of mutual concern,” the chief executive said.
“Where that… piece of legislation is doing good for Hong Kong, it should be approved as soon as possible,” she added.
Four opposition legislators were ousted earlier this month after Beijing granted the Hong Kong government the power to unseat any legislator deemed to be in breach of their oaths of loyalty under the Basic Law. In response, 15 fellow democrats announced they would leave the legislature in a sign of solidarity, leaving the legislature with no effective opposition.
The ousting of the legislators has drawn fierce international criticism, with the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand condemning it as a violation of Beijing’s international obligations. Rights groups have voiced concerns that the legislature will become a mere rubber-stamp.
Lam is set to deliver her annual policy address on Wednesday after delaying it to travel to Beijing for consultations earlier this month.