Carrie Lam

Hong Kong leader holds six-hour brainstorming session with new team and then posts rare selfie

Chief executive urges ministers to get out and pick up some ‘street wisdom’, then posts pictures of meeting on Facebook

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 July, 2017, 7:52pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 July, 2017, 10:11pm

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor reminded her ministers at their first brainstorming session on Saturday to reach out more to the community to absorb “street wisdom” in tackling small livelihood issues.

The new Hong Kong leader, who has been in full swing since her inauguration on July 1, held the meeting with her team at Government House from 9am to 3pm.

“Team spirit: jumped out of the office with my team. Had a brainstorming session and worked hard for Hong Kong people together,” she wrote on her Facebook page, attaching selfies of her team all wearing white polo shirts made earlier to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover to China.

According to an official with knowledge of the meeting, Lam conveyed her ideas for governance to her team and listened to the views of each principal official.

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She encouraged the team to make more visits to different neighbourhoods, stressing that officials should not neglect small livelihood issues while focusing on major policies, and that “street wisdom” was helpful in resolving problems such as the provision of public toilets.

The chief executive again reminded her team to maintain good relations with lawmakers and the media, and not to rely on Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong to canvass votes from pro-establishment lawmakers for bills and funding requests.

Meanwhile, the administration will mount a publicity campaign for the cross-border railway this week before it unveils the controversial scheme for joint law enforcement at its terminus in Hong Kong.

The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, due to open in the third quarter of 2018, is a hot political potato as mainland Chinese officers will for the first time be stationed in Hong Kong to enforce mainland laws.

It will be the first major challenge for Lam’s administration, which plans to table a bill for the law enforcement model to the Legislative Council after its summer break.

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The government will launch videos this week to sell the economic advantages the railway could bring, while technical details of the legal model would be revealed later.

Under Article 18 of the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, national laws will not be applied unless they are listed in Annex III of the Basic Law and those laws must be related to national defence, diplomacy and “other matters outside the limits of the autonomy” of Hong Kong.