Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor held a press briefing on Monday and took a hard line against anti-extradition protests and criticized those who resorted to violence and illegal activities.
The nature of some of the recent protests had changed with protesters defacing the national emblem in the Liaison Office, taking down a national flag in Tsim Sha Tsui and throwing it into the sea, she said. She added that they called for “recover Hong Kong, the revolution of our times.”
Lam said these actions challenged the “one country two systems” and were aimed at destroying Hong Kong. The government would not tolerate anyone using violence and disruptions to public order, she said.
SDhe also refused to totally withdraw the suspended extradition bill and step down. She said it was her job to resolve the case as she was the one who had proposed the extradition bill amendment.
Asked by the media whether the government would set up an independent commission to investigate the political turmoil, Lam said the Independent Police Complaints Council had been investigating the case.
Lam said the government and police would hold media briefings every day from Monday to inform the public about the latest situation in society and with public services. People should continue to work on Monday as a strike was no good for Hong Kong, said Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung.
The Hong Kong economy declined by 0.3% in the second quarter, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said. Hong Kong will technically fall into a recession if its quarter-to-quarter economic growth in the third quarter is negative, he added.
Chan called for the protesters to rethink their strategies as political instability would hurt Hong Kong’s economy.
Lam’s continued hard stance against the protests would not help reduce political tensions in society, Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a senior lecturer and prominent scholar at the Chinese University Hong Kong, was quoted as saying in an RTHK interview.
It was likely Lam was waiting for a decision from Beijing about how to handle the situation, Choy said. There was no sign that Beijing would send in People’s Liberation Army troops to Hong Kong in the short term as it may make the situation more complicated, he said.
On Monday, protesters launched a non-cooperation campaign to disrupt MTR services and randomly blocked key roads in the city. They called for the general public to join the strike.
Services on all major MTR lines were suspended from the morning. Protesters in black with helmets and masks were putting debris on key roads to block traffic. They chose not to stay at one place for a long time as police kept chasing them.
More than 100 flights at the city’s airport – one of the world’s busiest – were also listed as canceled on Monday morning.
In the afternoon, protesters will rally in seven districts across Hong Kong. Organizers say the seven districts will be Tamar Park in Admiralty, MacPherson Playground in Mongkok, Wong Tai Sin Plaza, Tin Hau Temple Fung Shui Square in Tai Po, Tuen Mun Cultural Square, Bishop Hill Hundred Stairs in Shatin and Tsuen Wan Park.