Lam defends four-action plan, pushes dialogue to look to future
Published: Sep 05, 2019 01:10 PM Updated: Sep 05, 2019 06:10 PM

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks to the press outside of her office on Thursday. Photo: Wang Cong/GT

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday firmly defended a comprehensive four-action plan she put forward a day earlier, and pushed back against criticism that the move was too little, too late.

At a press briefing outside her office, Lam explained her thinking and the work behind the four-action plan, and stressed that after careful review, the only right path forward is to start a dialogue. 

Regarding the questions about the timing of the plan and the role of the central government in the plan, Lam stated that dialogue needs to be started and that Hong Kong should look forward rather than look back.

Responding to the claims that her announcement on Wednesday came "too little, too late," Lam said the four-action plan should be viewed as one, which provides the basis for a dialogue and will help Hong Kong break the current deadlock.

After more than two months of social unrest, it is obvious to many that the discontent in society extends far beyond the bill. It comes down to political, economic and social issues, including the oft-mentioned issues of housing and land supply, income distribution, social justice and mobility and opportunities for young people, as well as how the public could be fully engaged in the government's decision-making.

The government has met different groups of people from different backgrounds, who have differing views. This effort is to provide a basis for dialogue and will be useful in creating the path for dialogue, she said, noting that, "Yesterday is the best time to do it."

It is not exactly correct to describe this as a change of mind, Lam said in response to a question raised by Reuters regarding the withdrawal decision.

The central government has always respected, understood and supported decisions regarding the extradition bill throughout the process, including the initial move to suspend the bill, she noted.

"The central government understands why I have to do it. They support me all the way."

Lam and her team will reach out to the Hong Kong community to start a dialogue from this month, she said.

On the four other demands raised by the opposition forces, Lam reiterated that they go against the spirit of the rule by law. The HKSAR government won't accept requests which deviate from the rule by law and the Basic Law.

The Chief Executive also repeatedly addressed concerns over the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC).

There is no need to establish an independent commission to probe police practices, as the IPCC is a legal, lawful, independent council that deals with any issues related to police operations, Lam said.

"It is not fair to describe IPCC as dominated by certain people with certain backgrounds."