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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Carrie Lam says she is in Beijing for duty, not for herself

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she didn't think about her future, and her meeting with President Xi Jinping was nothing but part of her duty visit.
Speculations were rife that Lam could be seeking Beijing's permission for re-election during her Beijing trip, as her term will be ending in June next year.

After a dinner with Xi together with Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng on Wednesday evening, Lam said she is not using the trip to serve her own agenda.

“The sole purpose of my trip to Beijing is the annual duty visit and that's it. I have not thought about my future,” she said.

Before her term ends, she will continue to fulfill her duties as the city's CE, she said.

Her meeting came just a day after results of Hong Kong's Legislative Council elections were announced, where 89 seats went to the pro-establishment camp and just one seat to centrist Tik Chi-yuen. The voter turnout rate was a record low 30.2 percent.

Asked if she has to be held liable for the low turnout, Lam said a target was never set.

The elections have been fair, transparent and efficient, and she did not hear any complaints about election arrangements over the past few days, she said.

On border reopening with the mainland, Lam said she has told the state leaders Hongkongers' anticipations. No decisions have been reached, despite both sides agreed Hong Kong has taken effective anti-epidemic measures.

Lam and Xi had limited interactions during their meeting. The two did not shake hands, but only stood next to each other for a dozen seconds for photos. Xi did not smile much during his opening speech.

Xi invited Lam and Ho, who was also on duty visit in Beijing, for dinner.

Lam met the press afterwards, but sidestepped all questions on whether she has received blessing for running in the CE election in March.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said Xi does not want to give any signals that he favors any candidates. Instead, he only recognizes policies by the SAR government.

In the meeting, Xi told Lam that the success in recent elections shows Hongkongers are in charge of the city.

Lam has led the administration to restore order from unrest, contained Covid-19 outbreaks, and revived the economy, Xi said, adding the central government "fully recognized" the efforts made by the SAR government.
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