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Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam vows to address housing crunch in policy speech
[HONG KONG] Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam pledged measures to address the city's notorious housing shortage, as she prepared to deliver her annual policy address despite concerns about possible disruption by protesters.
Ms Lam help up a copy of the text on Tuesday while previewing the speech in remarks to reporters. She said she'd attempt to deliver the address in the city's Legislative Council chambers, which were recently repaired after being ransacked by anti-government protesters in July.
"I'm sure you agree that the most important livelihood issue that a chief executive should address would be housing and land supply," Ms Lam said, adding that she would present a total of 200 new initiatives.
The chief executive also condemned escalating protester attacks on police officers as the unrest gripping the city grinds into a fifth month. Over the weekend, a police officer was slashed in the neck by a sharp object, protesters lobbed a petrol bomb inside a subway station and an improvised explosive device was set off in Kowloon near a police vehicle.
Her comments also come as US lawmakers consider bipartisan legislation that would establish annual reviews to determine whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous to justify continuing its special trading status. On Monday evening, thousands marched peacefully through the city's financial district waving American flags and calling on the US to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
Hong Kong's protests began in early June in response to a since-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. They have since expanded to include calls for greater democracy in the former colony.
Hong Kong has seen some of its worst violence yet since China's National Day on Oct 1, which was followed by Ms Lam's decision to ban protesters from wearing masks under the colonial-era Emergency Regulations Ordinance. That emergency powers law could also potentially be used to detain and arrest protesters and censor publications.