Hong Kong Leader Cancels Speech After Chaos in LegCo

  • According to Lam, Hong Kong is facing "the biggest challenge" since the handover of sovereignty by Britain to China in 1997.
  • Lam reiterated that she would continue the controversial plan to build an artificial island of 1,000 hectares to open new land for affordable housing.
  • Pro-democracy legislators, who control a minority in the LegCo, have disturbed the proceedings before.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was forced to read her annual speech via video after protests from pro-democracy legislators. They reportedly shouted and mocked Lam in the middle of the speech. Lam is being pressured by protests against Chinese intervention which had taken place four months ago. In her speech, she promised to remain committed to restoring trust in the government and asking people to “put aside differences.”

The reclamation of land from the ocean has long been used in mountainous Hong Kong to expand the limited supply of usable land with a total of around 60 square kilometres of land created by 1996. The first reclamations can be traced back to the early Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD), when beaches were turned into fields for salt production. Major land reclamation projects have been conducted since the mid-19th century.

According to her, Hong Kong is facing “the biggest challenge” since the handover of sovereignty by Britain to China in 1997. Lam believes the root of the citizen dissatisfaction lies in the price of housing that is no longer affordable. He promised to build more subsidized houses and apartments.

In her speech, she reiterated that she would continue the controversial plan to build an artificial island of 1,000 hectares to open new land for affordable housing. The Hong Kong administration will also provide subsidized city transportation and increase the number of health centers.

Currently, the average property price in Hong Kong is among the most expensive in the world. The government has been accused of participating in inflating property prices by allowing private investors to control vacant land for a long time, without any development plans. As a result, many young people can not afford to buy or even rent an apartment in the city. According to Lam, Hong Kong has been trapped in a “technical recession” since the protests began last June. As a result, the economy is predicted to grow only between 0-2% by the end of the year.

Lam’s speech which was initially held in the LegCo, but was finally delivered via live video broadcast. The speech was canceled following protests from pro-democracy legislators who chanted “free Hong Kong!” and displayed a projection video that reads “five demands, not one,” on the walls of parliament.

Alvin Yeung is a barrister and politician in Hong Kong. He is the current Leader of the Civic Party and member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, representing New Territories East after winning the 2016 by-election.

The commotion forced Lam to leave the room and cancel the speech session. Following the protest, pro-democracy legislators held an impromptu press conference in reaction. Legislative member Alvin Yeung called Lam “incapable of governing,” while his colleague Au Nok-Hin, said the video of Lam’s speech looked “like either an Al Qaeda address or a government in exile which cannot deliver its policy in parliament.”

Pro-democracy legislators, who control a minority in the LegCo, have disturbed the proceedings before. Ahead of the trial, security forces built a security fort around the parliament complex and placed metal detectors at a number of entry points into the building.

Damage to buildings created during anti-government demonstrations has now been fixed at a cost of $5 million, according to a South China Morning Post report. Initially, the protesters opposed the Draft Law which allowed Hong Kong citizens to be tried in China. But after the bill was canceled, protests were transformed into anti-government demonstrations demanding democratic reform.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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