File photo: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Photograph:( AFP )
The clashes between the police and protests have intensified over the last week
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam today affirmed her wish to work closely with Beijing's top official to get back on ''the right path''. The protests are now running into their sixth month.
China appointed a new envoy to Hong Kong, Luo Huining unexpectedly. The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) reports to China's State Council or the cabinet. It is the main platform for Beijing to retain its influence on the city.
"I would work closely with director Luo in the coming future, committing to 'one country, two systems', and the Basic Law, for Hong Kong to ... return to the right path," Lam said at a press conference, her first this year.
Huining echoed similar sentiments, hoping the city would return to ''right path''.
Watch: Hong Kong riot police detain protesters
Earlier in November, Reuters had reported that China was intent on replacing the former liaison office chief, Wang Zhimin, who was facing criticism over the unrest.
Even though Lam did not refer to the protests in her remarks, she alluded to the outbreak of a respiratory virus in China's Wuhan city. Such cases in Hong Kong have increased to 21, out of which seven have been released from the hospital.
The clashes between the police and protests have intensified over the last week. Earlier, the district council elections were swept by pro-democracy candidates. No concessions have been given by the government yet.
The protests began against the controversial Extradition Bill, which is now scrapped. Later on, the demonstrations evolved into a full-fledged movement demanding democracy. The protesters have also demanded an independent inquiry into instances of police brutality, even though the police say that they exercised restraint.
Hong Kong currently follows the ''one country, two systems'' model of governance which gives the city more autonomy than Chinese mainland. The British colony came under Chinese rule in 1996.
China has repeatedly asserted claims of the West triggering the unrest to stir instability in the region.
According to a Reuters poll, the pro-democracy movement has the support of 59% city residents, with 57% of them demanding Lam's resignation.
(With inputs from Reuters)