On Sunday, pro-democracy protesters participated in the largest mass rally since their candidates scored a landslide victory in the district elections, raising further doubts over how long Beijing is prepared to back Lam.
Declaring her priority was to restore law and order after more than six months of often violent protests, Lam said at a weekly media address that she would depart on Saturday for a regular visit to Beijing, where she would brief officials on Hong Kong’s biggest political crisis in decades.
With pressure mounting on her government, the Apple Daily newspaper, owned by pro-democracy publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai, reported China was considering a Hong Kong cabinet reshuffle by the end of the year. Since the protests began until now, Lam has avoided mention of the prospects of changes to her team.
“My first priority now is really to restore law and order in Hong Kong and to ensure that Hong Kong could continue to move ahead, both economically and socially,” Lam said during her weekly media address.
“This is not an immediate task that I would accord a lot of attention to,” she said, when asked about a potential reshuffle.
Pro-democracy protests have rocked the Asian financial hub and former British colony almost daily for months.
Sparked by a now-withdrawn bill allowing extradition to China, the protests have widened into calls for greater democratic freedoms and have have posed the starkest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.
China has condemned the unrest and blamed foreign interference. In an editorial on Monday, the China Daily newspaper, which often reflects the views of Beijing, called on Hong Kong’s government to uphold the rule of law.
If the grass is greener on the other side, you can bet the water bill is higher.