Lam to Present Policy Speech as Hong Kong Braces for Recession


Earlier on Tuesday, embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam ruled out making any concessions to pro-democracy protesters in the face of escalating violence, which police said was now "life threatening", citing the detonation of a small bomb.

When Lam entered the Legco chamber in the morning, pro-democracy legislators chanted slogans demanding her resignation, police accountability for alleged abuses against protesters, and for Lam to accept all five of the protest movement's key demands, RTHK reports.

Lam said it would be constitutionally inappropriate to try and tackle the current political deadline in her policy address, which was meant to lay out prospective government initiatives and targets: "We have to fulfil the constitutional requirements", Lam said. The annual review envisaged under the bill provides for the United States to ascertain if Hong Kong city is "sufficiently autonomous from Beijing" to justify its special trading status under U.S. law.

Beijing has repeatedly condemned Pelosi, accusing her of having "ulterior political motives" due to her vocal support for Hong Kong protesters.

The demonstrations began over the extradition bill - which would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial in Communist Party courts - in March and quickly expanded, leading to mass demonstrations and clashes between protesters and the police.

On Tuesday, the House passed H.Res. 543, a resolution reaffirming the relationship between the US and Hong Kong, condemning Chinese interference in the region and voicing support for protesters.

The annual policy speech was unusually short and focused on the deep social and economic inequalities that have proliferated in Hong Kong.

China's President Xi Jinping has also threatened Hong Kong's separatist movement, saying, "Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones". More than 2,500 people have been arrested, and hundreds injured, since protests erupted over a controversial, but now withdrawn, extradition bill in June.

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Geng accused the House of "a stark double standard" which "fully exposes the shocking hypocrisy of some in the US on human rights and democracy and their malicious intention to undermine Hong Kong's prosperity and stability to contain China's development".

Democracy protesters in Hong Kong have publicly pleaded for lawmakers to push through the three measures. The U.S. -based Hong Kong Democracy Council applauded lawmakers, and the group's managing director Samuel Chu called it "the strongest statement made to-date in support of the people of Hong Kong". "Hong Kong's number-one priority is to quash the violence".

In her address on Wednesday, Lam sharply criticised the protests, which have turned increasingly violent in recent weeks, blaming them for dragging the Chinese territory's economy into a recession.

"Both her hands are soaked with blood".

Lam's speech comes after the US House of Representatives passed a bill late Tuesday that aims to defend civil rights in Hong Kong and has drawn rare bipartisan support in a polarised Congress.

Last month, Smith joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and some of the Hong Kong activists at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in September. "For our policy address to totally ignore those constitutional requirements and... provide certain forms of universal suffrage for the people of Hong Kong is not a responsible act".

Geng said Hong Kong's problem wasn't "so-called human rights and democracy issues", but instead, "sinister intentions to destroy Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and to contain China's development".