September 02, 2019

Hong Kong’s Leader Says She Has Never Asked Beijing’s Permission to Resign
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said she had never asked China for permission to resign over the historic unrest rocking the city, while acknowledging that she discussed her struggles in a closed-door meeting with business leaders.At a news briefing Tuesday in Hong Kong, Lam denounced the leak of audio from the meeting, which was reported late Monday by Reuters, as “unacceptable.” She said was committed to seeing the city through the unrest, and had only attempted to explain that it would be “an easy choice” for anyone to leave under such circumstances.“I have never tendered a resignation to the central people’s government,” Lam told reporters. “I have not even contemplated to discuss a resignation with the central people’s government. The choice of not resigning is my own choice.”The comments follow a fresh wave of pro-democracy protests, including clashes in which demonstrators hurled scores of petrol bombs and police responded with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. The unrest began almost three months ago, when hundreds of thousands of people turned out to oppose Lam’s now-suspended proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China.Lam has so far refused the protesters’ demands, including the formal withdrawal of the legislation, her resignation and an independent inquiry into the unrest. Lam told a closed door meeting of business people last week that she had caused “unforgivable havoc,” and would quit if she had a choice, Reuters reported late Monday, citing an audio tape of her remarks.Lam’s news conference came ahead of a planned briefing from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, China’s top body governing the city, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. At a previous briefing, the office’s spokesman warned protesters that “Those who play with fire will perish by it.”As protests drag on, Lam -- a career bureaucrat appointed to lead the territory by Beijing -- has found herself under increasingly intense pressure. Hong Kong’s leader is effectively squeezed between raucous local protesters pushing for greater democratic freedoms and the President Xi Jinping’s one-party government, which is trying to quell the protests while managing a trade war with the U.S.\--With assistance from Venus Feng.To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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