Beijing may allow Hong Kong to retain its independence beyond 2047: Carrie Lam

“Only if we insist on implementing the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and we practice it continuously and completely … then I think there will be enough bases for ‘one country, two systems’ to move forward smoothly and there would be no change after 2047 “said Lam.

“We have to defend the principle of ‘One country’. Only by doing this, ‘one country, two systems’ can move forward without problems.”

Lam’s comments echo the language of the leaders of the Communist Party of China, who say that Hong Kong’s unique system is based on respect for Chinese sovereignty over the territory. Beijing routinely accuses political opponents in Hong Kong of trying to divide the territory of the continent with the support of foreign forces.

Protests in favor of democracy were triggered by proposed legislation that could have seen extradited suspects to face unfair trials and possible torture in China. While the legislation was finally eliminated, the movement grew to adopt new demands, including calls for universal suffrage and an independent investigation into police behavior.

The image of Carrie Lam looms over parliament during a question and answer session.Credit:AP

While Lam has rejected those points, he said Thursday he expected next month to announce the formation of a committee to investigate the root causes of the riots. Academics, experts and social leaders have been recruited to the Independent Review Committee, although some are reluctant to join for fear of personal attacks or online harassment by opponents who filter personal information.

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Along with political concerns, it is believed that the dizzying rise in housing costs and greater economic competition from mainland China have fueled protests.

During the contentious session, Lam repeatedly defended the police action while angry legislators demanded to know why his government does not respond to the public demand for an independent investigation into the alleged police brutality.

She said the police simply did her duty to maintain public order and had deployed “minimum force.” The government says that complaints against the police are being handled by the force’s own investigation division.

At one point, a legislator asked Lam, a practicing Catholic, if he was afraid of going to hell. When she dodged the question in his answer, he asked “When are you going to die?”

Several opposition lawmakers were ordered to leave the meeting after repeatedly interrupting Lam.

AP

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