Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam: I am not resigning
Carrie Lam was speaking after Reuters released an audio recording of her saying she wanted to step down and take responsibility for the unrest
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's embattled leader, insisted on Tuesday she had no intention of stepping down, after an audio recording emerged of her saying she wanted to quit and apologise for causing the unrest that has rocked the city.
Hong Kong has endured three months of pro-democracy protests, triggered by opposition to Lam's bid to push through a law allowing extraditions to mainland China. The protests evolved into a wider democracy campaign involving violent clashes between protesters and police, in the biggest challenge to China's rule of Hong Kong since its 1997 handover from the British.
"I told myself repeatedly in the past three months that I and my team should stay on to help Hong Kong," Lam said. Lam said she had "not even contemplated" discussing resigning with the Chinese government, which gives Hong Kong a restricted form of autonomy but ultimately is in charge of the territory.
Lam was speaking after the Reuters released an audio recording of her telling business leaders last week she wanted to step down and take responsibility for the unrest. "For a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc to Hong Kong is unforgivable," Lam said in the audio recording. "If I have a choice," she said, speaking in English, "the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology."
Lam told the business leaders she had "very limited" room to resolve the crisis because it had become a national security and sovereignty issue for Beijing. Lam described the leaking of the audio tape as "quite unacceptable", and denied accusations that she or her government had orchestrated it. "The conflict that I myself want to quit but cannot does not exist," she said.
China 'firmly' supports Lam
Beijing threw its backing behind Lam after the audio tape leak. "We firmly support Lam in leading the SAR (Special Administrative Region) government," Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China's central government, said.
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