Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam faced the outrage of the press on Tuesday, August 13, although she was supposed to deliver a brief statement regarding the city’s predicament and move.
She hadn’t even finished her opening remarks, yet the full-frontal assaults of the journalist started to strike — using both Cantonese and English languages.
“You blame your own political misjudgment on others, and refuse to acknowledge your mistakes,” one of the journalists asked.
“When will you accept political responsibility to end citizens’ fear?”
“When will you be willing to step down? When will you tell the police to stop?,” a furious reporter from Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK asked.
Before Lam could even respond to the intense questions, the reported added, “You asked me in the past to take my job seriously, so please answer me seriously as well.”
The fortified pro-Beijing leader began to reply but was cut abruptly again with questions.
“Citizens are afraid of you and the police, can you answer the question?”
Rising tensions in Hong Kong
The obnoxious treatment of journalists during the press conference is an indication of the rising tensions in the city. After days of disturbing protests, a lot of people suffered with injuries and some serious trouble.
Hong Kong media enjoys the freedom to say what the mainland China has to say, because that is their right according to the “One country, two systems” principle they have.
An extensive spectrum of political learnings are expressed — from feisty independent principles to strongly pro-Beijing outlets. Lam is often caught-off guard by these passionate questions of reporters who constantly interrupt and accuse her of failing to respond.
“Please don’t interrupt,” an official pleaded as reporters were bombarding her with questions.
In a moment she paused, looked down, and then looked up again with her eyebrows raised to reporters who continued to fire her with their questions.
But, occasionally, she sipped from a glass of water as she was being shot with burning queries.
“I again ask everyone to put aside your differences and calm down,” said Lam, who seemed to be on the verge of tearing at one point again.
“Take a minute to think, look at our city, our home, do you all really want to see it pushed into an abyss?”
Police’s violent address
Lam still defended the police against the accusations of excessive violence over the recent commotion, wherein tear gas were fired into the subway and around the crowded shopping streets.
She said she felt heartbroken by the serious injuries that were reported, but did not mention compromises to the demonstrators, and stressed that police are facing “extremely difficult circumstances”.
Moreover, she was asked about the main protesters demand to withdraw the now-suspended bill of extradition to the mainland, and her answer was, “This question has been answered.”
After that, the onslaught continued as she hastily left the podium.
“Do you have a conscience?,” one journalist shouted.
Another one yelled, “Mrs Lam, many citizens have been asking recently when you will die.”