You are here
China drawing up plan to replace Hong Kong's Carrie Lam: FT
[NEW YORK] The Chinese government is drafting a plan to replace Hong Kong's Carrie Lam with an "interim" chief executive, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified people briefed on the deliberations.
Ms Lam's successor would be installed by March, covering the remainder of her term should Chinese President Xi Jinping decide to carry out the plan, the paper cited the people as saying. Ms Lam's replacement wouldn't necessarily stay on for a full five-year term afterward.
Leading candidates to succeed Ms Lam include Norman Chan, former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and Henry Tang, who has also served as the territory's financial secretary and chief secretary for administration, the people added.
Ms Lam's introduction of legislation allowing extraditions to China sparked months of increasingly violent protests against Beijing's tightening grip over the city, pushing the economy toward a recession. Her moves to withdraw the bill and invoke a colonial-era emergency law to ban face masks have done little to stem the unrest.
In her annual policy address last week, Ms Lam tried to appease the economic concerns of poorer Hong Kong citizens. She pledged to make it easier for first-time buyers to get mortgages on properties, increase land supply, and give annual grants for students as well as more subsidies for public transit.
In the the address, Ms Lam said the violence had damaged Hong Kong's reputation and appealed for calm. Still, she didn't make any new proposals and repeated her opposition to the protesters' demands, including granting amnesty, an independent police inquiry and the ability to nominate and elect their own leaders.
According to audio excerpts released by Reuters last month, Ms Lam told a gathering of business people that she had caused "huge havoc", and would quit "if I had a choice". She subsequently told reporters that she never asked China for permission to resign over the historic unrest rocking the city.
Opposition lawmaker Claudia Mo said last week that Ms Lam's resignation could help ease tensions.
"She can go, if she wants to," Ms Mo said in an interview. "You might say, 'What's the point of having Carrie Lam gone? There would just be another puppet in place.' But at least we can have a new face, and let's have a restart, if possible, between the government and the people."