Lam calls on youths to 'defend our home'

Top News | Amy Nip 12 Aug 2019

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday reached out to young people to "defend our lovely home."

Lam was addressing 209 university students who went through a 13-day tertiary military training camp course at Fan Ling's San Wai Barracks that was organized by the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison.

Lam said there is a "big downward risk" for the economy from "external worries and internal instability," adding: "Everyone who treasures Hong Kong and who loves peace should unite in defending our lovely home."

She also promised the campers: "My colleagues and I will reach out to youngsters in different classes with more patience to listen to your views. I hope we can work together to build a better Hong Kong."

This was in stark contrast to her words at a press conference on Friday when Lam said young protesters who would want Hong Kong to burn with them have "no stake in society."

She said the training camp deepened students' knowledge about their country while offering a chance to experience military life and discipline.

And Lam encouraged students to join exchange programs at Belt and Road countries to develop their world vision and gain more understanding of international affairs.

Major General Cai Yongzhong, political commissar of the garrison, asked youngsters to obey the law and say no to "anything violent and illegal." They should "unite, help and love each other" to defend peace, stability and prosperity."

Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying, vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, also attended.

Lam, who has been skipping public events during the unrest, is also attending today's opening ceremony of an international conference in Macau.

Representatives of a dozen countries and regions are expected to attend the two-day international conference on the cultural mission for the development and construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen and the director of the Chief Executive's Office, Chan Kwok-ki, will be with Lam.

Meanwhile, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po and Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said people should say no to violence and stay united amid a "very difficult economic condition."

Chan blogged that Hong Kong's import and export industries has seen an obvious decline of businesses and economic growth has significantly slowed down.

"Hong Kong has entered a very difficult phase in terms of economy. Under the influence of recent violent clashes, profits were greatly decreased in retail, catering and logistics industries," Chan wrote.

He said protests, occupation of roads and vandalism of public properties have posed negative impact on Hong Kong's international image as a safe city, after 22 countries have issued travel warnings to the town.

Cheung said many shops had to be closed due to protests and warned that companies may have to downsize or even shutter their businesses if conditions do not improve.

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