Hong Kong protests: Carrie Lam urges youngsters to ‘treasure one country, two systems’ principle of government

South China Morning Post

Chief executive warns that Beijing could take away the freedoms Hongkongers enjoy today if pushed too far

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Students attend an anti-government protest in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong youngsters should not break the one country, two systems deal if they want the freedom they currently enjoy to continue, the city’s leader has warned.

In a question and answer session at the Legislative Council on Thursday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said young people who had reaped the benefits of the deal should uphold it.

“I want to tell the young people, who were mostly born after the handover, to treasure one country, two systems ... instead of causing damage to this system due to misunderstanding,” she said on Thursday.

“Otherwise, they will be creating the situation that they are in fact worried about today.”

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She added that the principle ensured the city’s younger generation grew up and were educated in a stable and prosperous environment.

Lam was responding to a question by pro-establishment lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan, who said the city’s youth were worried about their future after 2047. “How would you convince young people that it will still be one country, two systems by then?”

Lam said that if people understood and followed the system, they would have no doubts over whether it would continue beyond 2047.

“I don’t see the worry,” she said.

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During her speech, several lawmakers were removed from the Legislative Council meeting for heckling Lam.

When asked about the possibility of an independent inquiry into police behaviour during the unrest, Lam said she rejected claims of police brutality, and instead pointed to the actions of the protesters, asking: “If no one was breaking the law, why would police be enforcing the law?”

Lam said the government was close to establishing an independent review committee to look into deep-seated divisions in society and the causes of the ongoing unrest.

The committee members would be revealed next month, she added.