In her own words: Carrie Lam on Beijing, societal rifts and marriage sacrifices
Highlights of Carrie Lam’s replies to questions in her victory press conference
In victory, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was flanked on stage by her publicity-shy husband Lam Siu-por and their son Jeremy – but the media seemed as preoccupied as ever by the presence of another important player in her journey to success. What did she think of Beijing’s role in her win and of the liaison office’s alleged arm-twisting of pro-establishment candidates to vote for her? This was among the questions Lam fielded as she kept a smile and her mathematics professor husband braved the limelight in a rare public appearance. Throughout, Lam took pains to stress she had learned much, listened to “people’s hearts” and been “humbled” by the contest. Here are highlights of her replies to questions in her victory press conference.
Q: How can you fix the social rifts?
A: After the election, the whole of society will need to get united and move forward. It will be my top priority. In no time, I, as the chief executive-elect, shall invite people with different political stances to sit down and discuss issues of mutual concern. I believe we can find the way out by such honest communication.
Q: Will you invite pan-democrats to serve on your governance team?
A: My principle is to attract talent widely and on merit. I shall invite anyone with a sincere wish to serve, the ability and the commitment, regardless of political affiliation, to join my team.
Q: What will you do to reassure the public that you will defend the rule of law?
A: The rule of law, independent judiciary, clean government ... These are important core values of Hong Kong. As the chief executive, I pledge that I will uphold these values. In this two-month campaign, I strongly felt that perception was very important. When Hong Kong people have misconceptions about things happening or worries about things either happening or not happening, as the chief executive, I have the duty to speak up on behalf of the Hong Kong people and also try to address these concerns of our fellow citizens.
Q: When will you go to the Beijing liaison office to thank them for their support?
A: I owe my position not only to the 1,194 Election Committee members or the 777 members who have voted for me. I owe it to the people of Hong Kong ... The first thing I will do will be going to the people through district visits, waving to the people, listening to their views and shaking their hands. But as the chief executive-elect, there are certain protocols that I need to follow. There are certain calls that I need to make. So I will arrange to call on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the chief justice, and the president of the Legislative Council, and there are also three organisations of the central authorities in Hong Kong, including the liaison office. As part of protocol, I shall call on each and every one of these organisations.
Q: Will you dare to say “no” to Beijing when conflicting interests between the central government and Hong Kong arise?
A: Only if that thing is good for Hong Kong, and in the public interest, then I shall have nothing to fear. I am not serving as the chief executive for the sake of my personal interest or reputation.
Q: You said you had not had time to be with your family. How will you be able to do that now you have become the chief executive?
A: We have been married for 32 years and we have not had much time to be together – so little that some people think it is abnormal and wonder if he has a mistress. He has sacrificed a lot. Well, I am sorry, I am afraid you [her husband] will have to continue making sacrifices.
Lam’s husband, Lam Siu-por, takes the microphone: I am very pleased to make a sacrifice for the sake of Hong Kong people.