Hong Kong Leader Delays Annual Policy Address for Attending Beijing Talks

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive has delayed her annual policy address which was scheduled for Wednesday, to attend the talks to be held in Beijing. The talks are going to address the ways on how the central government can provide support for the financial hub’s economic recovery.

Annual Policy Address Might happen in November

Lam stated that she would visit Beijing this month and focused on postponing her policy address by the end of November.

She said she is going to discuss a wide spectrum of measures with the central government, consisting of some related to the Greater Bay area. The region includes Hong Kong, Macao along nine cities in China’s Guangdong province – the finance sector and tech innovation, without giving details.

“It is not a matter of waiting for directions,” Lam said in a news conference held on Monday when she was asked about the postponement of her address.

“It is a matter of responding to a positive indication from the central government that they want to take into account the chief executive’s recommendations that they really want to facilitate those policy measures so that Hong Kong people have more confidence that the economy will bounce back.”

The role of the central government in the semi-autonomous former British colony has always been highlighted, particularly with the implementation of security law in June after months of pro-democracy protests. Last year protests were one of the most intense ones that had happened in decades.

The protests were instigated due to fear in Hong Kong that the central government was cutting away the freedoms that were promised when the city returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula.

Hard Times for Hong Kong

The protests and later the ongoing pandemic have clobbered the city’s economy with full-year gross domestic product (GDP) forecast to shrink 6% to 8%.

Lam stated that the central government had asked her to go to Beijing. Last year, Lam said her policy speech on video after being pestered by pro-democracy lawmakers.

Lam also stated that she is going to visit the neighboring city of Shenzhen for this week’s anniversary of the establishment of China’s first special economic zone there 40 years ago.

On Wednesday, President Xi Jinping is expected to deliver a speech in Shenzhen; however, Lam stated that she had not scheduled a meeting with him there.