Foreign

Hong Kong leader to hold dialogue aimed at easing tensions

Published

on


Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, on Tuesday said she and her team would begin dialogue sessions with the community next week, while reiterating that violence that has roiled the city over three months of protests must end.


Lam, who is under pressure from Beijing to defuse the public anger stirring the protests, said the dialogue sessions would be as open as possible, with members of the public able to sign up to attend.

“Hong Kong society has really accumulated a lot of deep-rooted economic, social and even political issues.

“I hope these different forms of dialogue can provide a platform for us to discuss,” Lam said at a weekly briefing.

She said the issues included housing and land shortages in one of the world’s most densely populated cities of 7.4 million.

Young people are particularly frustrated by the high cost of finding a place of their own to live.

“But I have to stress here, dialogue platform doesn’t mean we don’t have to take resolute enforcement actions. Suppressing the violence in front of us is still the priority,” she said.

The former British colony has been roiled by nearly four months of sometimes violent protests.

The trigger for the unrest was an extradition bill, now withdrawn, that would have allowed people to be sent from Hong Kong to mainland China for trial.

But the demonstrators’ demands have broadened to include universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into their complaints of excessive force by the police.

Tanya Chan, a pro-democracy legislator, said in Geneva on Tuesday that Lam’s overture was a “political gesture”.

“I don’t see any kind of meaningful reasons to have dialogue with Mrs. Carrie Lam.

“All our demands are so clear from the very beginning and she knows this very well,” Chan told a news conference.

“If she keeps on telling us (there will be) no commission of inquiry, no universal suffrage, then I think that is the end of it. So it’s not fruitful to meet her at all,” she said.

Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland – including a much-cherished independent legal system.

But many residents complain about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in Hong Kong’s affairs despite the promise of autonomy.

Lam, who has been a focus of protesters’ anger, capitulated to one of their main demands on Sept. 4, announcing the full withdrawal of the extradition bill.

But some said that was too little, too late, and the protests have continued.

Police on Monday said 89 people were arrested over the weekend after “radical protesters” attacked two police officers on Sunday evening, hurling petrol bombs and bricks.

Brawls also broke out between anti-government protesters and others who support Beijing, while
nearly 1,500 people have been arrested since the protests intensified in June.

The turmoil is beginning to hit the economy of the financial hub.

Credit rating agency Moody’s changed its outlook on Hong Kong’s rating to negative from stable on Monday, reflecting what it called the rising risk of “an erosion in the strength of Hong Kong’s institutions”.

The institutional features that grant Hong Kong greater political and economic autonomy — together with the city’s intrinsic credit strengths — accounted for its higher rating than China, the agency said.

Lam said the Moody’s decision disappointing.

“We do not concur, especially if the justification for that sort of change in outlook is premised on whether we’re still upholding ‘one country, two systems’,” she said.

China also says it is committed to “one country, two systems” and it denies meddling in Hong Kong while stressing it is an internal Chinese issue.

China has accused foreign powers, particularly the U.S. and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business. (Reuters/)
FAT/AFA

Edited by Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide

https://nnn.ng/hong-kong-leader-to-hold-dialogue-aimed-at-easing-tensions/

Nigeria @60: Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar tasks Nigerians on discipline, patriotism Cleric cautions youth against alcohol, drug abuse to achieve career objectives Sweden rejects appeals to reopen probe into premier’s 1986 murder FRSC to partner with relevant stakeholders to reduce petroleum tanker accidents – Corps  Marshal Australia’s top science agency to cut carbon emissions by half Youths condemn kidnap of Kaura LG chair, demand unconditional release Belgium breaks 16-month deadlock as new government forms UAE plans to land spacecraft on moon by 2024 Israel approves law to limit protest during lockdown Israel greets Nigeria @60, extols fruitful bilateral cooperation Liverpool’s new signing Thiago tests positive for COVID-19 Spurs edge Chelsea in English League Cup shootout CAN urges government to overhaul country’s security system At least 11 injured, 17 houses demolished by heavy rain in Tanzania Super Eagles Friendlies: Officials, Ahmed Musa to depart for Austria on Saturday [email protected]: Bristol Hotel donates items to correctional centre, children’s home in Kano Food security: Kebbi farmers get training on combining rice with fish farming COVID-19: UN Chief urges more funding for IMF to help poor countries Perm Sec urges Nigerians to engage services of technicians to grow economy  DG urges Nigerians to key into zero tolerance policy to eradicate corruption  Zimbabwe to charge travelers tested for COVID-19 at ports of entry Group backs ongoing reconciliation in Oyo APC Independence Parade: FG orders blockage of all routes leading to Eagle Square  PDP identifies with ex-Gov Muazu over fire incident Britain hits 7,000 daily coronavirus infections amid lockdown debate Kajuru: Victims call for forginess to end cycles of crisis NSCDC officer, 2 others burnt as 2 motorcycles collide in Badagry COVID-19: Why we insist on post-departure tests – NCDC Robbery Attack: NAN Mgt commends Police, Anambra gov’t over proactive response Ex-commissioner, Abdul-Lateef, declares for Lagos governorship in 2023 CIOTA gets new exco, ratifies council Expert says engineers are critical to open defecation free Nigeria Enugu assembly passes bill to re-enact Local Government Law [email protected]: FG announces enhanced security measures for Eagle Square COVID-19: Okowa says Itakpe-Warri rail will rejuvenate rural economy FG warns against surge in COVID-19 infections as schools, businesses resume Edo correspondents pledge to support Gov. Obaseki Minister did not divert N2.67bn school feeding fund -ICPC Delta Govt urges newly recruited teachers, education officers to add value to children Buratai inaugurates military police headquarters in Abuja PTF urges Nigerians to brace up for COVID-19 testing Lawmaker assures constituents of even development, quality representation. Buhari backs calls for reallocation of  IMF reserve to support developing countries Zimbabwe to charge travelers tested for COVID-19 at ports Group drums support for Akeredolu’s re-election NAFDAC vows to prosecute impersonators, says agency no longer uses consultants Oyo Govt urges residents to go for COVID-19 test Counsel seeks protection of LASU student- witness in rape case Buhari felicitates with Ovie of Agbon Kingdom, Mike Omeru, at 70 We are not rubber stamp legislature — Reps Spokesperson