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Exclusive: The Chief Executive ‘has to serve two masters’, says Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam – full transcript

This is a transcript of a talk given in late August by Hong Kong Chief Executive...


EXCLUSIVE : The chief executive ‘has to serve two masters’: Last week, Reuters published most of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam ’s remarks made to a group of businesspeople in the city. Now, we are able to publish them in full:

This is a transcript of a talk given in late August by Hong Kong Chief Executive...

People who attended the talk say she spoke for about a half hour. The recording, which runs 24 minutes, captures the bulk of the event. Reuters has redacted the transcript in a few spots to remove names mentioned by Lam and questions asked by the audience.

In less than three months’ time, Hong Kong has been turned upside down, and my life has been turned upside down. But this is not the moment for self-pitifulness, although I shared with [name redacted] that nowadays it’s extremely difficult for me to go out. I have not been on the streets, not in the shopping malls, can’t go to a hair salon, can’t do anything because my whereabouts will be spread around the social media, the Telegram, the LIHKG, and you could expect a big crowd of black T-shirts and black-masked young people waiting for me.

This is something that no matter how well intended, I just want to put this message across. This is not something malicious. This is not something instructed, coerced by the central government. This is out of a good intention, myself and some of my key colleagues to try to plug legal loopholes in Hong Kong’s system, very much prompted by our compassion for a single case, and this has proven to be very unwise given the circumstances. And this huge degree of fear and anxiety amongst people of Hong Kong vis-a-vis the mainland of China, which we were not sensitive enough to feel and grasp. And, of course, it has been exaggerated and misrepresented through very effective propaganda, if I may say so.

But, of course, I’m sure in your hearts you will feel, and I’m sure a large number of people feel that I do have a solution, that is a political one. But I have to tell you that this is where the crux of the matter lies. Once an issue has been elevated to the situation – I’m sure [name redacted] has a better feel of that – to a national level, to a sort of sovereignty and security level, let alone in the midst of this sort of unprecedented tension between the two big economies in the world. The room, the political room for the chief executive who, unfortunately, has to serve two masters by constitution, that is the central people’s government and the people of Hong Kong, that political room for maneuvering is very, very, very limited. Because we were not trained to have that sort of national perspectives, and I could only keep on putting in what I feel is the Hong Kong situation and the Hong Kong sentiments. But whether those Hong Kong sentiments could override the national perspective and the national sentiments? I’m sure you know that now 1.4 billion mainland people already have formed a view about what is happening in Hong Kong. So, without going into a lot more details, I can only share with you discreetly that the room for me to offer a political situation in order to relieve the tension, nor to reduce the pressure on my frontline police officers in order to at least respond, or pacify the large number of peaceful protesters who are so angry with the government, with me in particular, of absolutely dead silence despite repeated participation in the protests, is what causes me the biggest sadness.

With a little bit of hope that may help because we are seeing the numbers reducing. We started off by an estimate of about one to two thousand protesters who are very violent. Or put it that way, they are very willing to resort to violence. They may not be violent by nature but they are very willing to resort to violence, so, as described by one expert, this is the, sort of, early signs of anarchism, that they don’t trust the establishment, they don’t mind destroying things even if they don’t know what destruction will bring.

So what could [name redacted] help us. Of course, every one of you has your own circle, you have your own friends, you have your own connections, you have your business contacts, so try to impress upon them that we really need to put an end to the violence, this is totally alien to Hong Kong and try to, as I said, appeal for understanding and love. We love this place, we love the people here. People used to be very peaceful and inclusive and so on. Instead of taking a position on every issue, either your friend or your foe, and so on.

In answer to a question about the impact of the protests on schools and universities, Lam said:

In answer to a suggestion from the audience related to the government’s public relations efforts:

Transcript by James Pomfret and Greg Torode in Hong Kong. Edited by Peter Hirschberg.

Read more: Reuters Top News

Great story ! That’s CarrieLam ´s inner struggle as she must know all too well Matthew’s gospel 6:24« No one can serve two masters. Either you will love the one and hate the other etc. » Pray for Carrie... The broken gate of the metro station is much more important than the hongkong citizens. This is hk chief executive who never listen to the citizen opinions and is controlled by china.The high degree of autonomy in hk is broken. Please pass HKHumanRightsDemocracyAct. HKprotest

It's apparent that Hong Kong has no autonomy since Beijing is giving orders what it can and cannot do. It's time we respect Beijing's wish and treat Hong Kong as part of China and apply the tariffs to Hong Kong and stripped it of special status. Implying Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong and high autonomy did not exist.

If that's an open dialogue, you should provide recordings, not transcript, since rioters pretend to be HK police hitting people before , so i would suspect that transcript was made up. Carrie Lam has not visited any injuried citizens/protesters during the movement even once! Such a cold blooded woman serves only Beijing. Hong Kong is no longer Hong Kong, watch out everyone.

There are far too many wealthy Chinese politicians & businessmen in China & Hong Kong invested in Hong Kong stock market & property market to let it fail What does red China movement mean? what is Simmba red color, what could black, green yellow etc mean Area 52 or kgb kgn could mean green Taliban support

Her speech shows that she has a very extreme thinking. Even she admitted that she had made an unforgivable mistake, she was still trying to push the responsibilities to the external environment. She would never evaluate herself. CarrieLam 5DemandsNot1Less StandwithHK Only one master stands for freedom. The other....

It's a nice speech, actually.

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Much like Republicans in America . Can't go out in peace Two masters probably don't include HongKongers She sure as hell doesn't help the citizens on HK, only herself, Winnie the Pooh and the ultra rich.

NOAA chief defends unsigned Dorian statement, but praises Alabama office that contradicted Trump“The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects and potential impacts of Dorian,” NOAA acting Administrator Neil Jacobs said. This administration is a complete shit show. You can’t do both!! Pick one. Oh, brother

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NOAA chief defends Alabama office after Trump Dorian tweetThe head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday defen... They should and stand up to the big kid bragging all week long . Let's move on folks

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