Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Hong Kong Policy Address 2019: Carrie Lam speech delivered by video as lawmakers’ protests prompt adjournment

Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s policy address announcement was halted on Wednesday amid protests by pro-democracy lawmakers. The meeting at the Legislative Council was prematurely adjourned and the address will now be delivered via video message at 12:15pm.

October 16 LegCo policy address protest

Photo: Inmediahk.net.

Lam was scheduled to announce her third policy address at 11am at the newly-reopened Legislative Council.

Before Lam entered the chamber, pro-democracy lawmakers shouted “five demands, not one less,” and “Carrie Lam step down, seek responsibility over police brutality.”

Mass protests have carried on in Hong Kong for 19 weeks as protesters demand democracy and accountability over alleged police brutality.

As Lam entered, pro-democracy lawmakers continued chanting. Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan pointed a projector at the podium displaying a message: “five demands, not one less.” She was ordered by LegCo President Andrew Leung to leave.

October 16 LegCo policy address protest

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan stands on top of a table in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Complex during the Chief Executive’s 2019 Policy Address. Photo: inmediahk.net.

Though the extradition bill that sparked protests is set to be withdrawn this week, demonstrators are demanding a fully independent probe into police behaviour, amnesty for those arrested, universal suffrage and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.”

Leung then suspended the meeting. Though, when it was resumed 15 minutes later, Leung warned lawmakers again that they would be removed if they continued to protest.

October 16 LegCo policy address protest

“Five demands, not one less.” Photo: Inmediahk.net.

Lam entered the chamber again at 11:20am, and began her speech. But legislators shone the projector with slogan at the podium again and shouted slogans. Leung ordered lawmakers Andrew Wan, Shiu Ka-chun, Kwok Ka-ki and Lam Cheuk-ting to leave.

October 16 LegCo policy address protest

Pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin wears a Chinese President Xi Jinping mask in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Complex during Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s 2019 Policy Address on October 16. Photo: inmediahk.net.

Leung said the meeting could not continue and adjourned it. The LegCo secretariat later said that the meeting will not be resumed on Wednesday.

A press release from the government said that Lam was unable to proceed owing to the “current circumstances.”

October 16 LegCo policy address protest

Chief Executive Carrie Lam enters the Chamber of the Legislative Council Complex in order to deliver her 2019 Policy Address. Photo: inmediahk.net.

“To allow members of the public to know in full the various initiatives in it, she will deliver the Policy Address to members of the public through video at about 12.15pm today,” it read.

A live feed from state-run news wire Xinhua was cut within seconds of the protests.

‘How can she govern?’

Democrats chased Lam as she left the chamber but were blocked by security. Afterwards, Tanya Chan said Lam was the “culprit inciting the protests.”

October 16 LegCo policy address protest

Pan-democrats stage a protest outside the Chamber of the Legislative Council Complex ahead of Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s 2019 Policy Address on October 16

“How can she announce the policy address? How can she govern Hong Kong?” she said.

She said that, according to a poll by newspaper Ming Pao, more than 70 per cent of interviewees wanted her to resign.

democrats legco

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

“Carrie Lam does not dare to face residents, and does not dare to face lawmakers,” Chan said.

Lawmaker Au Nok-hin said Lam’s video address would be a rare act: “It looks like either an Al-Qaeda address, or a government in exile which cannot deliver its policy in the parliament,” he said. “Our demands are clear: five demands, not one less. If the five demands are not fulfilled, the policy address must be scrapped and rewritten,” he added.

Democrats also held a small speaker which played the “screams” of protesters as tear gas canisters were being fired during recent protests.

‘Dangerous and violent means’

Meanwhile, Martin Liao, convener of the pro-Beijing camp, denounced the democrats’ protests as violence, accusing them of trying to halt the most important annual event of the LegCo: “The Legislative Council has a constitutional duty to listen to the policy address. The policy address is not just about political stances or demands, but an important document about the economy and livelihood issues,” he said. “Using such dangerous and violent means to block the policy address… we are very disappointed and we strongly condemn it,” he added.

But Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan told HKFP that the pan-democrats did not protest with the aim of forcing Lam to televise her address. “The purpose of our act was to reflect the voices of ordinary Hong Kong people and it is important to allow Mrs Carrie Lam to face them directly,” she said.

“At the same time, as legislators, it is our duty to pass on their message and it is our duty to monitor the government. But as you can see, the people have lost confidence in the government and Mrs Carrie Lam.”

Chan added that it was imperative for Lam to resign from her position in order for Hong Kong “to survive.”


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Hong Kong Policy Address 2019: Carrie Lam speech delivered by video as lawmakers' protests prompt adjournment