Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Announces 2 Initiatives After 11th Weekend of Protests

Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Announces 2 Initiatives After 11th Weekend of Protests

In an attempt to meet a key demand of protesters calling for her ouster, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam pledged to immediately establish a platform for dialogue, investigate complaints against police and institute a wide-ranging fact-finding study into the demonstrations.

While details remained scarce, Lam told a briefing that the dialogue platform would involve “people from different walks of life, different political views and stances.” She also said the government would enlist international experts to conduct the fact-finding study, which would be released to the public in six months.

“I hope that this is a very responsible response to the aspirations for better understanding of what has taken place in Hong Kong,” Lam said. The study, she added, “will provide the government with recommendations on how to move forward and also to avoid the recurrence of similar incidents.”

The moves appear to be a fresh attempt to engage with pro-democracy protesters, who came out in force on Sunday in a largely peaceful gathering that contrasted with violent clashes with police in previous weeks. While the move falls short of meeting the five key demands of demonstrators, who oppose Beijing’s attempts to tighten control over the city, it indicates a softening in Lam’s stance after she earlier ruled out an independent inquiry.

Pressure has built on Lam among not just protesters, but also the police. Anthony Neoh, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Council, told the South China Morning Post in an article published Tuesday that the city cannot rely on police alone to restore calm and that a political solution was needed. He said he wouldn’t rule out an inquiry at a later stage, once the two sides had reconciled.

Lam has previously said dialogue could resume after violence stopped. Her efforts so far to reach out to some student leaders were rebuffed after they rejected her conditions on the meetings.

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