It’s been more than a month now since Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor suspended the extradition bill, which she later pronounced “dead”.
Lam has also repeatedly vowed to listen more broadly to public views in order to improve the quality of her governance, and has been keeping a low profile by avoiding making public appearances as much as possible.
However, public discontent over her administration has yet to show any sign of easing.
In fact, public grievances are heating up and violent clashes between protesters and police have been escalating in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Lam has been spending most of her time meeting with representatives of different sectors either at the Government House or the Chief Executive’s Office.
Their discussions were mainly focused on finding ways to repair the social rifts.
According to a government figure, it is not that Lam did not have a chance to meet with young people for a candid exchange of views during the period.
These meetings have not come to light because of the belief that only by conducting these meetings behind closed doors can the administration guarantee that things would go smoothly, the source said.
As a matter of fact, quite a number of the individuals and members of various organizations who were invited to meet with Lam have actually asked the government not to disclose details about their discussions with the chief executive.
It is speculated that they do not want to put themselves in the firing line from netizens or draw unnecessary criticism.
But no matter what, Lam will have to start putting together her next policy address. And an administration figure revealed that the chief executive has ordered her bureau chiefs “to pull off something impressive” by putting more emphasis on livelihood issues.
The problem is, how can the government possibly alleviate public grievances and allow our society to move on if it keeps rejecting the demands put forward by anti-extradition bill protesters?
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 19
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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