Carrie Lam, predsjednica administracije Hongkonga

Carrie Lam
Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam has refused to offer any concessions to anti-government protesters despite a local election setback.

The Chief Executive says she will accelerate dialogue and plans to set up a committee to review deep-seated social issues that contributed to grievances.

Hong Kong's most unpopular post-colonial leader acknowledged voters wanted to express their views on many issues, including "deficiencies in governance", but also wanted an end to the six-month-old unrest gripping the city.

"Everybody wants to go back to their normal life and this requires the concerted efforts of every one of us," Lam said.

"So, as I have said repeatedly, resorting to violence will not give us that way forward. So please, please help us to maintain the relative calm and peace ... and provide a good basis for Hong Kong to move forward."

At her weekly news conference on Tuesday, Lam said the central government didn't blame her for poll the outcome. The pro-democracy bloc won a landslide victory with 90 per cent of seats securing their first majority after running a campaign against Beijing's perceived encroachments on Hong Kong's liberties.


Comment: Details of the turnout:
Voters in Hong Kong's district-council elections, the city's only fully democratic contest, delivered a humiliating rebuke of the government. In a record voter turnout, pro-democracy candidates captured more than 80 percent of the 452 seats in contention and gained control of 17 of Hong Kong's 18 district councils, all of which were previously pro-establishment following the 2015 election.

Meanwhile, Beijing, who has set up a crisis command centre in a villa on the mainland side of the border with Hong Kong, is considering replacing its official liaison office to the semi-autonomous city to tighten control and manage the recent upheaval.

Ordinarily, communications between Beijing and Hong Kong are conducted through the Chinese government body, known as the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong.

As violent protests roil the city in recent months, top Chinese leaders have been managing their response from the villa on the outskirts of Shenzhen, bypassing the formal bureaucracy through which Beijing has supervised the financial hub for two decades.

The Liaison Office is housed in a Hong Kong skyscraper stacked with surveillance cameras, ringed by steel barricades and topped by a reinforced glass globe.

In a sign of dissatisfaction with the office's handling of the crisis, Beijing is considering potential replacements for the body's director, Wang Zhimin, two people familiar with the situation said.

Wang is the most senior mainland political official stationed in Hong Kong.

The crisis centre, located at the secluded Bauhinia Villa also served as a crisis centre during the pro- democracy "Occupy Central" protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2014.

The liaison office has come in for criticism in Hong Kong and China for misjudging the situation in the city.

"The Liaison Office has been mingling with the rich people and mainland elites in the city and isolated itself from the people," a Chinese official said.

"This needs to be changed."


Comment: That seems to be the case. Lam, for instance, has claimed she has the support of a "silent majority" of Hong Kong voters:
That argument was clearly untenable after pro-government candidates were swept from power across the city, holding on to barely one in 10 seats on district councils. Nearly 3 million ballots were cast; both in absolute numbers and in turnout rates it was the biggest exercise in democratic participation that Hong Kong has seen.
So it seems that the real "silent majority" was not pro-government after all. Rather, they agreed with the main points of the originally peaceful protesters; they just didn't necessarily side with the violent radicals.


Mass protests erupted in June over an extradition bill that would have allowed individuals to be sent for trial to the mainland where protesters say they were unlikely to receive fair trials.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador Terry Branstad to protest against the passing in the US Congress of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, saying it amounted to interference in a Chinese internal matter.

In the notice posted on its website, Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang pressed the US "to correct its errors and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and interfering in China's internal matters".

President Donald Trump is expected to sign that bill and one other relating to Hong Kong into law, despite delicate trade talks with Beijing.

Zheng said the passage of the Human Rights and Democracy Act was a form of encouragement of the violence and constituted a serious violation of international law and basic norms of international relations.

"China expresses its strong resentment and resolute opposition," he was quoted as saying.

Though the extradition bill has been killed, the protests have grown angrier, powered by a broad perception that Beijing is meddling improperly in city affairs and by complaints of police brutality.


Comment: Here's a look at some of the election winners:
Elsewhere in Wan Chai — which on Sunday, devoid of clouds of tear gas, returned to a bustling shopping center — Cathy Yau, an 11-year veteran of the Hong Kong police who quit in July to protest its handling of the demonstrations, made a stand against another incumbent. Jimmy Sham, the former leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized the largest demonstrations of the anti-extradition-bill movement — bringing a million, then 2 million people to the street — made his final pitch to voters with the help of a crutch: He was left bloodied on the streets of the Mong Kok neighborhood last month after being beaten by a group of men with hammers, the second time he had been targeted by attackers since protests began. Richard Chan, who attempted in August to mediate between protesters and police outside Hong Kong's airport, made his first foray into politics. Hailed as the "airport uncle" for his actions, he was later pepper-sprayed and his face pressed to the ground by riot police, who arrested him for taking part in an election rally. Leung, Yau, Sham, and Chan all won their respective races.

The losers included a lengthy list of pro-Beijing heavyweights. The most notable and celebrated loss was that of Junius Ho, a bombastic lawmaker whose support for Beijing has made him loathed in pro-democracy circles. Protesters have accused Ho of having cozy ties to organized-crime figures, including those who carried out a violent attack on protesters and journalists at a train station in July.* Ho was stabbed this month during a campaign rally, but the attack garnered him no sympathy: Revelers popped champagne, cheered, and left mocking offerings for Ho as election officials announced he'd lost his seat, though he remains a member of the city's legislature.

Hong Kong is governed under a charter which grants British-style rule of law until 2047, and its high degree of autonomy is widely seen as key to its prosperity as an international financial hub.