Lam seeks public's views on annual Policy Address

HK leader pledges to listen to the people, even as protest movement shows signs of strain

Even as the deadlock between the government and anti-extradition supporters drags on, the city's legislators are calling for views on the annual Policy Address to be delivered in October.

The government said yesterday it has launched a public consultation exercise for the 2019 Policy Address, which would be Chief Executive Carrie Lam's third.

The embattled leader, Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung and Financial Secretary Paul Chan will meet representatives from different sectors to listen to their views.

"To continue to develop the economy and improve people's livelihood, we have to make plans together and work in concert," said Mrs Lam, who added that together with her team, they will "humbly listen to all walks of life".

"I sincerely invite members of the public to give their views on the Policy Address, so that we can harness the collective wisdom and insights to formulate policy initiatives to meet the needs of our people."

Meanwhile, the anti-extradition movement is showing signs of strain and fragmentation.

Online chatter and messages yesterday showed a planned rally for July 21 in Kowloon has been canned after organisers had differences of opinion that went public.

The district-based Concern Group for Tseung Kwan O People's Livelihood said in a Facebook post yesterday that the July 21 march was off as "citizens have come up with more effective and cheaper ways of mobilising consumers' purchasing power" to support the anti-extradition movement.

The message came after a separate group calling themselves Amateurs of Tseung Kwan O said it had nothing to do with the July 21 rally and is calling for another rally on July 28 instead.

 
 

The confusion follows calls by netizens earlier this week for further protests on July 13, 14 and 21 in Sheung Shui, Shatin and Tseung Kwan O.

Late last night, there was a stand-off between hundreds of protesters and police outside a metro station in Yau Tong, a residential district in Kowloon that houses many police quarters. Students had gathered to set up a version of the Lennon Wall - a space for protesters to leave messages - but were met with pro-government protesters who were trying to stop them.

It escalated into a stand-off between the students and police officers who tried to clear the crowd from the overhead walkways surrounding the station, but to no avail.

As of midnight, hundreds of mostly young protesters remained, handing out sticky notes and tape among themselves to paste their messages on the pillars and walls around the station.

Mounting anger among young people against the authorities was also seen when about 2,000 students at the University of Hong Kong signed a petition that was passed to Vice-Chancellor Zhang Xiang earlier yesterday over his criticism of protesters storming the LegCo building on July 1.

The petitioners slammed him for showing only "concern for the LegCo property", and failing to speak up for young people.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2019, with the headline 'Lam seeks public's views on annual Policy Address'. Print Edition | Subscribe