Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor presented her vision for a better Hong Kong, which she said could be achieved under the “one country, two systems” principle, but refrained from discussing politically sensitive issues.
Speaking at a forum marking online media outfit Master Insight’s second anniversary on Monday, Lam stressed that her vision should not be seen as her campaign platform for next year’s chief executive election but more like “farewell words of advice” from the bottom of her heart, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Lam has expressed her wish to retire several times in the past, even though many still expect her to run for Hong Kong’s top job.
In her 20-minute speech, Lam covered various aspects of Hong Kong society such as the economy, aging population, poverty and innovation, saying that Beijing is striving with total sincerity to make the “one country, two systems” successful.
She said she understood that some developments in society in the past few years have made people worried, concerned or even grieved.
But she stressed that her vision can be achieved as long as people still passionately loves Hong Kong.
Lam talked about the need for the city to consolidate its advantages, bolster its confidence in the future, diversify the economy, nurture young people and attract talent, among other things.
Many observers noticed that Lam, in talking about her vision, left out several issues which she presented at another forum back in July.
For example, she did not mention “fair election and promotion of democracy”, “preservation of human rights and protection of freedom” and “relaunch of political reform by the next government”.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said Lam avoided talking about political reform in her speech because she recognizes the objective reality that Beijing is unlikely to change its Aug. 31, 2015 decision on universal suffrage in the territory.
Ivan Choy, a senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Lam also did not touch on judicial independence because the situation has changed after the National People’s Congress Standing Committee handed down its interpretation of the Basic Law as regards the oath-taking controversy involving localist members of the Legislative Council earlier this month.
Political commentator Ma Ngok, also from CUHK, told Apple Daily that Lam’s speech indicated she is still interested in running for chief executive.
Otherwise, Ma said, Lam would not have talked enthusiastically about Hong Kong’s future.
He said he did not sense any feeling that she is bidding farewell to everyone in her speech.
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