- In a statement released afterward, the Chinese government gave an assurance that it strongly supports Lam.
- "I told myself repeatedly in the last three months that I and my team should stay on to help Hong Kong," Lam told a news conference Tuesday morning.
- Lam allegedly told business leaders last week that she wanted to resign and take responsibility for the altercations.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s head of Government, said on Tuesday that she has no intentions whatsoever of resigning after an audio recording began trending in which she allegedly said otherwise. According to the viral video, she also apologized for causing the disturbances that have lately shaken the city.
In a statement released afterward, the Chinese government gave an assurance that it strongly supports Lam. “We firmly support Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam in leading the SAR [Special Administrative Region] government,” Yang Guang, the spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the Chinese central government, told reporters.
The former British colony has been the scene for three months of pro-democracy demonstrations, triggered by a strong opposition to a bill proposed earlier by Lam. The bill, which would have allowed extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China, never saw the light of day. The demonstrations have since expanded into a broader pro-democracy movement.
On most occasions, the demonstrations have degenerated into violent clashes between the protesters and the police, turning the situation into Hong Kong’s worst crisis since it was returned to China in 1997. “I told myself repeatedly in the last three months that I and my team should stay on to help Hong Kong,” Lam told a news conference Tuesday morning.
The head of the local Executive has assured that she has “not even contemplated” the option of addressing her resignation with the Chinese government, which grants Hong Kong a certain autonomy. Although, in essence, it is in charge of the territory.
Lam made these statements after the Reuters news agency published an audio recording in which she allegedly told business leaders last week that she wanted to resign and take responsibility for the altercations. “It is unforgivable that a head of government has caused such chaos in Hong Kong,” Lam is allegedly heard saying on the “fake” recording.
Last weekend’s demonstrations saw some of the most violent moments of the crisis. Protesters threw stones at the police, who in turn responded with tear gas and water cannons.
“I think she wanted this recording to come out, she wants to give the impression she’s innocent and apologetic about what’s happening,” said Bonnie Leung, a representative of the Civic Front of Human Rights, which has organized some of the demonstrations that have rocked Hong Kong since June.
“Either Carrie Lam lied to the business leaders last week or to the public of Hong Kong this morning,” added pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting.
Since the beginning of the protests, in June, more than 1,100 people have been arrested. China responded to the crisis with threats and intimidation. Some state media published videos showing their security forces deployed right on the border with Hong Kong.