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Carrie Lam has become the first woman to hold Hong Kong’s top job.

The 59-year-old had the backing of the Chinese government in Beijing and was widely expected to win.

Hong Kong has a degree of autonomy from Beijing but protests have been growing over Chinese interference.

Hong Kong’s chief executive is not chosen by public vote but by a 1,200-strong committee dominated by pro-Beijing electors.

Pro-democracy groups held protests outside the election venue, calling the process a sham.

In her acceptance speech, Carrie Lam said her first priority during her five-year term would be to reduce social tensions.

She welcomed and encouraged a spectrum of voices and vowed to “tap the forces of our young people”: “They are often at the forefront of society, pulling and pushing us as a whole to make progress.”

Carrie Lam also promised to uphold Hong Kong’s “core values” such as “inclusiveness, freedoms of the press and of speech, respect for human rights” and the rule of law.

Image source Wikipedia

Her main rival, former finance chief John Tsang, was the public’s favorite, according to opinion polls.

The third candidate, and the most liberal, was retired judge Woo Kwok-hing.

Carrie Lam garnered 777 votes to John Tsang’s 365. Woo Kwok-hing received 21.

Calls for fully free elections have failed, despite intense demonstrations, known as the “umbrella protests”, in 2014.

Hong Kong’s Election Committee picked Carrie Lam to succeed current leader CY Leung, who will step down in July. She was formerly his deputy.

Carrie Lam, a long-time civil servant, is nicknamed the nanny because of her background running numerous government projects.

During the 2014 protests, which were spearheaded by young people, Carrie Lam took the unpopular stance of defending Beijing’s concessions for political reform.

This allowed Hong Kong people to choose their leader but only from pre-approved candidates.

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, who was among those protesting and was a lead figure in the umbrella movement, has called the electoral process “a selection rather than an election”.

When the result was announced, he tweeted that Carrie Lam had been elected with “only 777 votes”.

On Facebook, an online protest was launched called No Election in Hong Kong Now, which showed a video montage of regular citizens going about their business as the election took place to highlight how they were not entitled to participate.

CY Leung has proved unpopular with large swathes of Hong Kong residents who consider him too tightly aligned to Beijing.

At the end of the 2016, CY Leung made the unexpected announcement that he would not run again, citing family reasons.

Hong Kong is governed under the principle of “one country, two systems”, under which China has agreed to give the region semi-autonomous status since its 1997 handover from Britain.

The Election Committee includes 70 members of the territory’s legislature, the Legislative Council – half of whom are directly elected.

However, most of the Election Committee is chosen by business, professional or special interest groups.

Critics say entities that lean towards Beijing are given disproportionately large representation.

In 2016, pro-democracy activists secured 325 seats on the committee – the highest number ever, but not enough seats to determine the next chief executive.


Two democratically elected Hong Kong lawmakers have been barred from taking office by Beijing.

Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung, who represent the Youngspiration political party, won seats in September elections to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo).

The pro-independence elected lawmakers have refused to pledge allegiance to Beijing when being sworn in.

After using a derogatory term to refer to the mainland and declaring Hong Kong was not part of China during their swearing-in session in October, they were barred from office.

Image source AP

Image source AP

Beijing has now interpreted a section of Hong Kong law to mean any official who does not swear the oath properly cannot take office, said state media.

The move comes after weeks of chaos in the Hong Kong legislature.

There were also protests, and some scuffles, in Hong Kong on November 6, with at least four arrests.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive CY Leung said his government would “fully implement” the ruling.

Hong Kong is semi-autonomous under the “one country, two systems” framework in place since it was returned to China in 1997.

Hong Kong’s mini constitution, the Basic Law, states Beijing still has the final say in how to interpret its laws.

The interpretation by Beijing’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), marks Beijing’s most far-reaching intervention in Hong Kong since the handover.

Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching belong to the Youngspiration party, which sprang from the 2014 Occupy Central pro-democracy protests. They have called for Hong Kong to break away from China entirely.

Their attempts included using a variation of a derogatory word for China, and displaying a pro-independence banner.

Their oaths were invalidated amid chaotic scenes in the Legislative Council (LegCo).

China’s intervention came before a local court could issue its own ruling on whether Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching could be sworn in again.

Hong Kong is voting in the first major elections since pro-democracy protests in 2014.

Voters will choose 35 lawmakers based on geographical constituencies and 35 people to represent selected trades.

Hong Kong has partial democracy and not everybody can vote for all the seats. Thirty seats are decided by a pool of just 6% of the population.

Polls opened at 07:30 local time and are due to close 15 hours later.

The vote does not elect the Chief Executive, who is the head of government, but many analysts believe the outcome of today’s vote could have an impact on whether China grants current leader CY Leung a second term in office.

Photo AP

Photo AP

For two months in 2014 protesters demanded his resignation as the Occupy movement occupied major parts of Hong Kong and caused political upheaval while calling for the right to elect a leader directly.

Three main groups compete in September 4 elections: pro-Beijing parties including pro-business parties; traditional pro-democracy parties known as pan-democrats and localists, who want democracy but think there should be more confrontation with the government – some think Hong Kong should have more autonomy, while some advocate full independence.

The seats are in the Legislative Council, which passes laws and budgets in the territory.

There are 30 so-called functional constituencies which represent various professional and commercial groups, such as insurance, catering or education. These are voted in by company representatives in their industries.

Anyone without a functional constituency vote can vote for the final five seats.

The system means that although Hong Kong has 3.7 million voters, 30 of the seats in the Legislative Council are determined by a pool of just 239,724 people.


Hong Kong’s Chief Executive CY Leung has said the need for economic growth outweighs calls for greater democracy, in his first annual policy address since last year’s pro-democracy protests.

Leung Chun-ying, commonly known as CY Leung, said Hong Kong would “degenerate into anarchy” if it gave in to demands for universal suffrage.

The speech was delayed as several pro-democracy lawmakers staged a noisy protest in the chamber calling for him to resign.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy street protests came to an end in December.

The protesters had been on the streets since late September. They were demanding that the 2017 elections – Hong Kong’s first public vote for the leadership – should be held without interference from Beijing.

China’s government has said that while there will be a free vote, there should only be two to three candidates, chosen by a pro-Beijing committee.Hong Kong parliament protests during CY Leung speech

The protesters wanted CY Leung – who was himself elected by a committee of 1,200 people – to resign, but he refused.

While tens of thousands of people took part in the initial demonstrations which paralyzed parts of central Hong Kong, numbers had fallen to a few hundred – mostly students – by the time police and bailiffs dismantled the last camps in mid-December.

In his opening remarks of his speech, CY Leung said Hong Kong had to make a choice between “implementing universal suffrage and a standstill” in the economy.

While he recognized the aspirations of the student protesters, he said they did not fully understand Hong Kong’s laws, and that the territory had never been promised total political autonomy.

The reforms to take place in 2017 were “a big step forward for Hong Kong’s democratic development”, he said.

“As we pursue democracy, we should act in accordance with the law, or Hong Kong will degenerate into anarchy,” he warned.

Cy Leung also promised to generate more affordable housing in Hong Kong – a major issue in the wealthy but small territory – by announcing a new subsidized housing scheme.

His speech was delayed by several minutes after members of the pan-democratic bloc walked through parliament waving yellow umbrellas – a symbol of the protest movement – and banners calling for universal suffrage and for CY Leung to resign.

Pro-democracy lawmakers Raymond Chan and Albert Chan were removed from the chamber by security guards, while others walked out, leaving empty seats.

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Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have clashed with police near the government offices, in some of the worst unrest in two months of protests.

Protesters fought police armed with pepper spray, batons and water hoses on roads around the camp in Admiralty.

Police say 40 people have been arrested and a number of officers were injured.

The protesters want the people of Hong Kong to be allowed to choose their leaders in the 2017 elections without interference from Beijing.

The Chinese government has said it will allow universal suffrage, but will screen candidates for the chief executive post in advance.

Last week police and court bailiffs removed one of the major protest camps in the Mong Kok commercial district.

The protesters had public support at the beginning, but that is now ebbing as many Hong Kong residents believe the protests are causing too much disruption.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The unrest flared late on November 30, after student protest leaders called on supporters to converge on the offices of Chief Executive CY Leung on Lung Wo Road.

The road is a short distance away from Connaught Road in Admiralty, the major road protesters have been occupying for two months.

Protesters, many wearing hard hats and carrying umbrellas – the symbol of their movement – moved into the area, throwing bottles, helmets and umbrellas towards police.

Police ordered them to retreat, then charged protesters, eventually forcing them out of the area. Police sprayed water to disperse protesters, in addition to batons and pepper spray.

On December 1, government offices were shut and staff were told to stay home. But the roads outside the government site were clear of protesters and open for traffic.

By afternoon government employees were able to go back to work.

The atmosphere remains tense at Connaught Road where hundreds of protesters are still occupying the area amid a police presence.

Hong Kong’s security secretary, Lai Tung-kwow, has blamed students for escalating violent behavior, and defended the use of force by police.

“The police have to take resolute actions, they have no choice … it is their duty to restore law and order,” Lai Tung-kwow told reporters at a press conference on December 1.

Last week more than 100 people – including some key protest leaders – were arrested as the Mong Kok camp, across the harbor from Admiralty, was dismantled.

The latest clashes come after China said it would not allow a UK parliamentary committee to enter Hong Kong as part of an inquiry into British relations with its former colony.

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Hong Kong protesters have accepted an offer of talks with the government after a week of unrest.

Chief Executive CY Leung Leung offered the talks with his deputy late on Thursday, October 2, but rejected calls to resign.

The protesters, angry at China’s plan to vet election candidates, have been occupying parts of the city since the weekend, though numbers have fallen.

Beijing has thrown its full support behind CY Leung, calling the protests illegal and “doomed to fail”.

On Friday, October 3, Hong Kong temporarily closed government offices in the main protest-hit area, saying staff should work from home because roads were blocked.

Though the protests were significantly smaller on Friday, some groups remained on the streets. In a sign of tensions, there were some scuffles as police tried to keep protesters back from the buildings.

Scuffles also broke out in the Mong Kok district between protesters and residents who oppose the demonstrations. Similar disturbances were reported from the Causeway Bay area.

Police were sent to Mong Kok where pro-Beijing groups had reportedly tried to remove barriers and tents.

At a news conference, the police have heavily criticized the protesters for obstructing traffic and blocking supplies reaching the government offices.

“It is unreasonable, unnecessary and severely affecting emergency services and the life of the public,” police spokesman Hui Chun-tak said.

Hong Kong protesters have accepted an offer of talks with the government after a week of unrest

Hong Kong protesters have accepted an offer of talks with the government after a week of unrest

Hui Chun-tak urged protesters to leave the area outside the government buildings in an orderly fashion, but stressed the police would remain impartial and “exercise the greatest tolerance”.

On the issue of talks, the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) said it would have a public meeting with Chief Administration Secretary Carrie Lam, but insisted that CY Leung should step down, saying he had “lost his integrity”.

The Occupy Central movement issued a statement saying it hoped “the talks can provide a turning point in the current political stalemate”. It also called for CY Leung’s resignation.

Benny Tai, co-founder of Occupy Central movement, also visited students outside government offices – who have reportedly attempted to block supplies from reaching the police – and urged them to show understanding.

“Everyone loves Hong Kong and we all hope to have a peaceful and just society, and on this journey we must show inclusivity,” he said, according to Apple Daily.

The students had threatened to escalate their protests and occupy government buildings if CY Leung did not resign by Thursday night.

Hours before the deadline, he said in a news briefing: “I will not resign because I have to continue with the work for elections.”

He warned that any attempts to occupy buildings would lead to “serious consequences”.

At the heart of the row is how Hong Kong elects its next leader. In August, Beijing ruled that while Hong Kong residents would have a vote, their choice of candidates would be restricted by a committee.

The protesters say this falls short of the free elections they are seeking.

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Hong Kong’s leader CY Leung says he will not step down, amid calls from pro-democracy protesters for him to resign.

CY Leung said his government was willing to hold talks with the protesters.

The protesters are angry at China’s plan to vet candidates for elections in 2017, and say they want full democracy.

They have surrounded two key government buildings in the territory, but CY Leung warned them that they were breaking the law.

At a news conference shortly before the protesters’ midnight deadline for his resignation, CY Leung warned that attempts to move on or occupy government buildings would have “very serious consequences”.

Hong Kong’s leader CY Leung says he will not step down, amid calls from pro-democracy protesters for him to resign

Hong Kong’s leader CY Leung says he will not step down, amid calls from pro-democracy protesters for him to resign

He said the territory’s top civil servant, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, would open a dialogue with student leaders as soon as possible.

“Tonight, the Hong Kong Federation of Students issued an open letter asking for a meeting with the chief secretary, representing the Hong Kong government, to discuss one item – and this is the constitutional development of Hong Kong,” CY Leung told reporters.

“We have studied the letter in detail, and I’m now appointing the chief secretary to represent the Hong Kong government to meet with the representatives of the Hong Kong Federation of Students to discuss constitutional development matters.”

Hong Kong’s chief executive added: “I will not resign because I have to continue with the work for elections.”

The protesters have massed outside the Office of the Chief Executive and the Central Government Complex.

Police had earlier warned protesters not to try to breach the police cordon protecting the buildings.

Police spokesman Steve Hui told reporters: “The police will not stand by and watch. We will decisively uphold the law.”

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Hong Kong protesters are preparing for huge pro-democracy rallies on the National Day as leader CY Leung has urged them to back electoral reforms set out by Beijing.

Speaking early on the National Day holiday, CY Leung said Hong Kong should work with Beijing to achieve progress.

The protesters want Beijing to withdraw plans to vet candidates for the next Hong Kong leadership election in 2017.

Activists say they expect the biggest demonstrations yet on the streets to coincide with the holiday.

By midday, protesters were starting to fill up the main protests site in the Central business district, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. A fourth protest site has also spread to Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, several roads south of Mong Kok.

CY Leung, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has rejected campaigners’ calls for him to stand down. Chinese President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed Beijing’s control over the territory.

A rumbling protest campaign ballooned into mass street demonstrations at the weekend.

Police responded initially with tear gas and pepper spray, but riot police later withdrew and since early on Monday the situation has remained calm.

The protesters want Beijing to withdraw plans to vet candidates for the next Hong Kong leadership election in 2017

The protesters want Beijing to withdraw plans to vet candidates for the next Hong Kong leadership election in 2017 (photo Reuters)

Crowds swelled again on Tuesday night and the demonstrators – who include student groups, supporters of the Occupy Central movement and others angered by the police response – say they are confident of greater numbers on Wednesday, October 1.

So far there are no signs of concessions from Beijing.

On September 30, President Xi Jinping told Communist Party leaders that his government would “steadfastly safeguard the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau”.

The protests are seen as a direct challenge to Beijing’s grip on the territory’s politics. Analysts say leaders are worried that calls for democracy could spread to mainland cities.

News of the protests is being heavily censored in mainland China. Media have blamed “radical opposition forces” for stirring up trouble.

Meanwhile the US restated its position on the protests, saying that a genuine choice of candidates in the election would enhance the legitimacy of the chief executive.

On September 30, state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Secretary of State John Kerry would discuss the protests with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi when the pair meet on October 1.

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Hong Kong leader CY Leung has urged Occupy Central protesters to stop their campaign after tens of thousands of people have been blocking streets in several areas.

The protesters want Beijing to give Hong Kong a free vote for its next leader, something Beijing has rejected.

The streets are now relatively quiet but crowds are set to swell later ahead of Chinese National Day on October 1.

People were sleeping and clearing up on September 30 before larger gatherings expected during the evening.

October 1 is a national holiday marking the founding of Communist China.

At the weekend police used tear gas and pepper spray, but riot police have since been withdrawn and protesters remain calm.

Key parts of the city are being blocked by protesters, with some schools and banks closed.

CY Leung has urged Occupy Central protesters to stop their campaign after tens of thousands of people have been blocking Hong Kong streets

CY Leung has urged Occupy Central protesters to stop their campaign after tens of thousands of people have been blocking Hong Kong streets

The protesters want CY Leung, the chief executive, to step down. But he appeared to reject their demand, saying that his removal would mean Hong Kong’s next leader being chosen by a committee, as in 2012, rather than by voters.

CY Leung also called on the protesters – a mix of students, supporters of the pro-democracy Occupy Central group and others angered by the police response to the protests – to go home.

“Occupy Central founders had said repeatedly that if the movement is getting out of control, they would call for it to stop,” CY Leung said.

“I’m now asking them to fulfill the promise they made to society, and stop this campaign immediately.”

Beijing ruled last month that Hong Kong people can elect their next leader in 2017.

But the choice of candidates will be restricted to two or three people who must be approved by the majority of a pro-Beijing committee – meaning Beijing can effectively screen candidates.

In Hong Kong, further consultations had been due to take place on the ruling but on September 29 a senior official said these would be postponed until a “better time”.

In its latest statement, Occupy Central accused the government of “delay tactics”, saying it believed the government was “just hoping people’s desire for genuine universal suffrage to fade out over time”.

Occupy Central also repeated calls for CY Leung’s resignation, saying he would be “condemned by the history of democratic development in Hong Kong”.