Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed “high trust” in Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in a meeting with Lam on Monday in Shanghai and “fully affirmed” the chief executive’s response to unrest that has rattled the city since June, according to official media.
The formal sit-down was the first official meeting between the two since anti-government protests began in early June.
Responding to a report presented by Lam on the recent situation in Hong Kong, Xi affirmed the “hard work” done so far by the city’s chief executive to stabilise the situation and restore order, state news agency Xinhua reported, adding that Lam has Beijing’s trust in terms of work that still needs to be carried out.
“The central government has high trust on you and fully affirmed by the work of you and the governance team of Hong Kong,” Xi was quoted as saying. “To curb the violence and stop the chaos in accordance with the law is still the most important task faced by Hong Kong.”
“At the same time, we must do a good job in dialogue with the community and improve people’s livelihood,” Xi said. “I hope that people from all walks of life in Hong Kong will comprehensively and accurately implement the one country, two systems policy and the Basic Law and work together to safeguard Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.”
Xi is in Shanghai to open the China International Import Expo which is expect to open on Tuesday, after inspecting the city’s “urban renewal work” on Sunday.
The Post reported earlier that Carrie Lam had been called to Beijing for an unscheduled meeting with Vice-Premier Han Zheng on Wednesday, with sources saying this would involve key policy directives on the protest-hit city, amid discussions on the national security law.
Hong Kong was high on the agenda of the fourth plenum of the Chinese Communist Party, a top-level closed door meeting of China’s political elites at end of October.
The meeting’s communique said China will continue to uphold the “one county, two systems” principle, but also called for actions to “establish a sound legal system and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the special administrative regions”.
According to Xinhua, Politburo member and top diplomat Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi, who oversees the country’s police force, were present in Lam’s meeting with Xi.
This is the second time Zhao, who is newly added to China’s top level Hong Kong and Macau affairs decision-making body, appeared in meetings with Xi.
He appeared in Xi’s meeting with Macau’s new leader mid September, signalling China’s security forces might become increasingly involved in Hong Kong and Macau-related affairs, to make sure the turmoil does not spill over to mainland China.
“If no one had an army, armies would not be needed. But the same can be said of most lobbyists, PR specialists, telemarketers, and corporate lawyers. Also, like literal goons, they have a largely negative impact on society. I think almost anyone would concur that, were all telemarketers to disappear, the world would be a better place.”
― David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory