China’s Xi gives Hong Kong leader ‘unwavering support’


BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping told beleaguered Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday that she had Beijing’s “unwavering support” despite another huge pro-democracy rally earlier this month and her government’s thrashing at recent local elections. The city has been upended by six months of massive pro-democracy protests that have seen violent battles between police and hardcore demonstrators, as well as regular transport disruption.

Protesters have called for the unpopular Lam to stand down as leader, but she received the backing of China’s leadership during a visit to Beijing on Monday.

“The central government fully recognises the courage and sense of responsibility you have demonstrated in such an exceptional period in Hong Kong,” Xi told Lam at the imposing Great Hall of the People.

“We will continue to provide unwavering support for you to lead the SAR (special administrative region) administration to govern according to the law,” Xi said. Lam thanked Xi for his concern for the city’s situation, “for his guidance for us, and for the trust and support for the SAR government and me to handle such a big crisis”.

Lam met earlier with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who said her government had “tried its best to maintain social stability” amid “an unprecedentedly severe and complicated situation”. But he also called for the Hong Kong government to “step up studies of the deep-seated conflicts and problems that hinder Hong Kong’s economic and social development” in order to restore calm to the city.

“Hong Kong is yet to get out of its plight. The SAR government must continue its hard work, stop violence and subdue chaos according to laws and restore order,” Li told Lam.

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At a press conference held in Beijing after the meetings, Lam said that the “unprecedented” current situation in Hong Kong this year meant she had to spend “a bit more time to give (the leaders) an account of where things stand”.

“We will continue to provide unwavering support for you to lead the SAR (special administrative region) administration to govern according to the law,” Xi said. Lam thanked Xi for his concern for the city’s situation, “for his guidance for us, and for the trust and support for the SAR government and me to handle such a big crisis”.





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