Concrete steps sought from Lam

Top News | Angel Kwan 19 Sep 2019

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor faced the music from hundreds of district councillors last night in a test run of her dialogue with the public next week.

Pro-democracy councillors asked her to come up with concrete measures to remedy the divide in society and criticized Lam for having refused to withdraw the fugitive bill right after a million people marched on the streets in early June.

Pro-establishment councillors slammed the government and police for being too "soft."

In her opening address, Lam said since district councillors are representatives of the public, she promised to listen to views about problems in various districts.

She said she is worried and pained by the destruction of public facilities and violence on the streets over the past three months.

She hopes there will be a way out for Hong Kong.

Most of those who spoke were pro-establishment members, after councillors from the Civic Party, Democratic Party and Neo Democrats boycotted the meeting.

Lau Chi-shing, of Tai Po, said: "I have talked to many people, and many of them keep asking 'what does the government think? Why does the government seem to be at its wits' end with the situation? I hope the government take a stronger stance."

Those who attended said they were subjected to a lot of restrictions. They were not allowed to reach the central government offices on their own and instead had to gather at the offices of their district and take a prearranged shuttle bus to CGO.

Sunny Chiu Chu-pong, a pan-democrat, said they were required to obey rules, such as not bringing helmets, loudspeakers and "items that may affect the operation of the activity, or may cause disturbance or danger to attendees."

Recording or taking live videos was also forbidden.

Chiu received a "question number" card before the meeting. They were required to put the card into a collection box if they wished to raise a question during the meeting.

Numbers would be drawn from the box, and each had three minutes to speak. Lam responded at the end of the session.

Concluding the meeting, she said she would continue to work on the four measures she mentioned in an earlier TV speech, including reaching out to the community and engaging experts to look into the deep-rooted problems in society.

The one country, two systems principle is the cornerstone to prosperity, she said, without giving concrete answers to councillors' questions.

Sha Tin's Siu Hin-hong said he suggested that Lam unite society by launching constructive projects in which citizens could join "to enhance communication."

Earlier, some pro-democracy councillors protested outside CGO.

Fan Kwok-wai of the Neo Democrats said the two-hour meeting with Lam was a "PR show." He added: "We think the so-called dialogue was just trying to divert attention and it had nothing to do with resolving the current political crisis."

He said two hours was not enough for such a meeting.

"As there are more than 400 district councillors, each of them would only have about 10 seconds to speak."

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