Beijing has refuted a Financial Times report that claimed Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had offered to quit but had been refused, calling it totally “unfounded”.
The spokesperson for the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong said that the central government “firmly supports” Lam and the HKSAR government “in governing according to law, upholding national sovereignty, security and development interests, and maintaining long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong”, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The spokesperson also urged FT to “follow journalism ethics and stop circulating fabricated information” and “present responsible, objective and balanced reports, so as to constructively boost understanding of Hong Kong and contribute to its rule of law, prosperity and stability, rather than doing the opposite”.
The office has expressed “strong disapproval” of the media outlet and “firm opposition against its circulation of false information”, according to the spokesperson.
In a report published on Sunday, FT cited “two people with direct knowledge of the situation” as saying that Lam “has offered to resign on several occasions in recent weeks” over the massive protests against the now-suspended extradition bill. The newspaper noted, however, that her requests had been turned down by Beijing.
The report, citing a person with direct knowledge of the situation, said Beijing has insisted Lam “has to stay to clean up the mess she created” because “no one else can clean up the mess and no one else wants the job”.
The newspaper also quoted the Chief Executive’s Office as saying Lam has “made it clear in public that she remains committed to serving the people of Hong Kong”.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council did not respond to a request for comment, according to the FT report.
On Sunday night, in response to an inquiry by HKEJ, the Chief Executive’s Office dismissed as “totally false” the report that Lam had asked Beijing to approve her resignation, saying she has never done so.
Asked about the report by media on Monday afternoon, Lam said she had stressed in public several times that she remains committed to continuing her work with enthusiasm.
The chief executive said she will continue to lead her team to listen to public opinions in a more accommodating, open and humble attitude so as to complete her work during her term of office, even though she’s facing difficulty.
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a regular press conference on Monday that he has never heard of the report claiming Lam had expressed her intention to resign “on several occasions” with her requests denied.
The spokesperson said he can assure the journalist that “the central government firmly supports” the HKSAR government and Lam “in administering the region according to law”.
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Lam has never offered to quit over protests, CE office says