Lam supports Beijing plan to ensure patriots rule Hong Kong
HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has backed the plans of Beijing to ensure “patriots” rule the city. She said on Tuesday they were necessary to prevent hatred of China and sustain the ‘one country, two systems’ governance model.
She was speaking at a weekly news conference which came after a key member of China’s cabinet signalled changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system, further diminishing the pro-democracy opposition’s influence in the former British colony.
According to Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Hong Kong can only be governed by “patriots”, a term he said includes people who love China, its constitution and the Communist Party and excludes anti-China “troublemakers.”
The new measures are expected to further tighten the authoritarian grip of the pro-Beijing government ever since the national security law was implemented last year.
Lam elaborated on the comments made by Xia on Tuesday and listed a series of anti-government protests ever since the city reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
Protests seeking democracy or blocking legislation proposed by the various pro-Beijing governments culminated with the mass demonstration in 2019, stoking hatred against Beijing and the city government, said Lam.
“These series of incidents made the central government worried, and of course, for me, as the chief executive, it is also worrying,” Lam told media persons.
“To stop the situation from worsening to a point that ‘one country, two systems’ could hardly be carried out, the problems need to be tackled at a central government level.”
The changes are slated to be announced in March and can restrict who could contest in legislative elections and lead to the disqualification of most lower-level district councillors, most of whom are pro-democratic.