A group of protesters stormed Hong Kong Chief Executive contender Carrie Lam’s press conference where she revealed her complete election platform on Monday (February 27).
Minutes before Lam’s news conference began a group of protesters bypassed security, unfurled banners and called on Lam to address universal pension, universal suffrage, and other issues.
Lam, 59, is the preferred candidate for the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Hong Kong Liaison office, and for Politburo standing committee member Zhang Dejiang. Both Zhang and the Liaison office are part of former CCP head Jiang Zemin’s political faction.
She promised to continue to stimulate the economy through China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative and a set of tax reductions for small-to-medium enterprises and investments.
She said her policies will aim to improve the livelihood of Hong Kong people and unite the city’s next generation.
“Young people are the most vital and creative members of our community, who can push social development to a new level. We must resolve the difficulties they face in education, career development and home ownership. We should also encourage their involvement in politics and political discussion,” Lam told reporters.
The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and its next leader faces the task of reconciling long-standing tensions between Communist Party leaders in Beijing and pro-democracy advocates agitating for universal suffrage.
The city was roiled by street occupations and violent clashes between pro-democracy activists and police in late 2014, while growing calls for independence and self-determination from a disaffected younger generation have alarmed China and stoked mistrust on both sides.
When asked whether she would revive the conversation on political reform and whether she would implement a controversial national security law, Lam said there were more pressing issues that needed to be dealt with.
“These issues have proven to be extremely controversial and they are the cause of some social tensions, confrontations or even disturbances in society. But in this election campaign I hear loud and clear that people want society to be unified again. People want me to restore social harmony so Hong Kong can move on with all the many issues we need to tackle. So without the necessary atmosphere and conditions. I really don’t think any chief executive should rush into these two issues, let alone to promise now that they would definitely deliver on both issues in the next term of the Hong Kong SAR government,” she said.
Lam has served as the city’s chief secretary since 2012 and is known for her no-nonsense approach to overseeing the civil service.
The former Chief Secretary said she would submit her nomination bid to the election committee on Tuesday after securing nearly 400 nominations.
A committee of 1,200 people, most of them CCP loyalists, will choose the next leader for the city of 7.2 million people on March 26.