Beijing 'refused to accept Lam resignations'

Top News | Staff reporter 15 Jul 2019

Embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor offered to step down over protests that have rocked Hong Kong but Beijing refused to accept her resignation, according to the Financial Times.

Lam offered to resign on several occasions in recent weeks over the mass protests but Beijing has refused to let her stand down, according to the newspaper which quoted "two people with direct knowledge of the situation."

The situation has escalated into the SAR's deepest political crisis since its handover from British to Chinese sovereignty 22 years ago, prompting Lam's offer to stand down over her handling of the extradition bill, the sources said.

Beijing has insisted that Lam "has to stay to clean up the mess she created," according to one of the sources, who added: "No one else can clean up the mess and no one else wants the job."

The bill was Lam's initiative and not Beijing's, the people with direct knowledge of the situation said.

That has left Lam as the target both for public criticism among Hongkongers and China's displeasure at the handling of the controversy.

When asked by the Financial Times if Lam had attempted to resign, her office said: "The chief executive has made it clear in public that she remains committed to serving the people of Hong Kong."

The director the CE's Office last night said Lam never tendered her resignation.

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, Beijing's government department in charge of supervising the territory, did not respond to a request for comment.

The FT pointed out that, on Thursday, Wang Zhimin, head of Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong, publicly backed Lam, saying the central government "firmly supports" the chief executive and her government.

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