China’s President Xi Jinping expressed a “high degree of trust” in Hong Kong’s embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam after the two met in Shanghai on Monday months after the city has been rocked by protests that have pitted locals against the police.
Since the protests broke out in June over an extradition treaty, there has been frequent speculation that Lam could be removed for not being able to end the increasingly violent demonstrations.
Xi’s endorsement of Carrie Lam efforts will put an end to the speculation.
“Xi voiced the central government’s high degree of trust in Lam and full acknowledgment of the work of her and her governance team,” the official news agency, Xinhua reported on the meeting.
“Ending violence and chaos and restoring order remain the most important task for Hong Kong at present,” Xi was quoted by the Xinhua as telling Lam.
Xi and Lam’s meeting in Shanghai came in the backdrop of a weekend of violence in the special administration region (SAR) of Hong Kong marked by a knife attack and the vandalising of Xinhua’s office in the city.
“After hearing Lam’s report on the recent situation in Hong Kong, Xi said the disturbances in Hong Kong have lasted five months (and) Lam has led the SAR government to fully discharge its duties, strive to stabilise the situation and improve the social atmosphere, and has done a lot of hard work,” the Xinhua report added.
The news agency quoted Xi as demanding “…unswerving efforts to stop and punish violent activities in accordance with the law to safeguard the well-being of the general public in Hong Kong.”
“Meanwhile, effective efforts should be made in work including having dialogue with all sectors of the society and improving people’s livelihood,” Xi said.
“Xi expressed his hope that people from all walks of life in Hong Kong fully and faithfully implement the principle of “one country, two systems” and the HKSAR Basic Law, and make concerted efforts to safeguard Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” the report said.
Since the city’s handover to China from the British in 1997, Beijing has run Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” model, which allows its citizens not enjoyed by those on the mainland.
The Hong SAR is to be fully integrated with the mainland in 2047.