Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor acknowledged that the controversies and disputes resulting from the extradition bill have made “me fully realize that I, as a politician, have to remind myself all the time of the need to grasp public sentiments accurately”.
In a speech delivered in Cantonese at the reception for the 22nd anniversary of the handover on Monday, Lam stressed that while the government has “good intentions”, being “open and accommodating” is necessary, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The government must not only “ensure administrative efficiency” but also “listen patiently”, she said.
Lam pledged that the government’s “future work will be closer and more responsive to the aspirations, sentiments and opinions of the community”.
And the first step that she would take is to change the government’s “style of governance to make it more open and accommodating”, adding the administration also needs to “reform the way” that it listens to the views of the public.
The chief executive said she would do everything to “identify the crux of the issues, to ease anxiety in the community, and to pave the way forward for Hong Kong”.
She made it clear that improvements will be made in five aspects. She said she “will make more time for meeting with individuals from different political parties, walks of life and backgrounds”, which will enable her “to maintain [her] political awareness and gauge the pulse of the community”.
She also said she “will actively reach out to young people of different backgrounds”; strengthen the government’s “overall work in communicating with different people and carry out more comprehensive, accurate and timely analysis on the community’s views on various government policies or issues of public concern”; further boost “communication between the executive authorities and the legislature”; and ensure that “in formulating policies”, the government itself “will make critical assessment of the situation and make thorough deliberations”.
Lam urged the people to devote energy to “taking precautionary measures as well as making appropriate responses” at a time when Hong Kong is facing a lot of problems and its economy facing greater downside risks.
“Every one of us in Hong Kong, though holding different views and assuming different roles, loves this place and treasures our long-cherished values,” Lam said.
“I and the SAR government will double our efforts to restore people’s confidence and get Hong Kong off to a new start,” she added.
While Lam was giving her speech, lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan of the Democratic Party suddenly stood up and yelled in Chinese: “Withdraw the evil bill!” and “Carrie Lam, step down!” She was taken out of the venue by more than 10 security guards.
Before the reception, the government held the traditional flag-raising ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square at 8 a.m. to celebrate the handover anniversary as it had done so in the past.
However, guests were not present at the site and watched the ceremony through a live broadcast on a large TV screen in the Grand Hall of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
The government said the indoor arrangement, the first time it was ever done since the handover, was made due to “inclement weather”.
But protesters still managed to gather near the square in a standoff with the police during the ceremony.
Several roads near the convention center had been closed, and water-filled barricades and crowd control barriers had been put up around the area since Saturday midnight.
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