Hong Kong chief executive Kerry Lam has admitted that it has caused "enormous devastation" that has plunged her city into a political crisis that has been unchecked for more than a generation, according to a private conversation published on Monday.
Speaking with extreme frankness to a group of business leaders last week, Lam said her actions were directly responsible for months of protests that plagued China's semi-autonomous territory, according to sticking comments received by Reuters.
"I don't want to waste your time or waste your time asking me what went wrong," Lam said in the recorded remarks. "But one CEO who caused this huge chaos in Hong Kong is unforgivable. This is simply unforgivable.
Earlier this year, Lam and Hong MPs proposed an extradition treaty that could send Hong Kong residents – long accustomed to the rule of law and an independent, open court system – to the continental part and they are facing this country's turbulent criminal justice system.
Hong Kong residents took to the streets in protest.
And even through Lam postponing the extradition bill, the protests turned into a larger pro-democracy movement, marked by regular clashes with police and thinly veiled threats by Beijing.
"If I had a choice, the first thing (I would do) was to quit (after) making a deep apology," she said in English notes. "So I beg your forgiveness.
The chief executive complained that he was in a win-win situation, pleasing both Beijing and the Hong Kong people.
"The political room for the chief executive, who unfortunately has to serve two masters … this is the central people's government and the people of hong kong, the political maneuvering room is very, very, very limited, "she said.
As violent protests continue, Beijing has stepped up its propaganda attacks against protesters and unleashed vague threats of potential hostilities.
And while Lam said, "it would be naive to paint a pink picture for you that things will be okay or I have a deadline," she assured business leaders that Chinese tanks were not ready to move through the former British colony.
She stated that China was playing a "long game" and was taking too much risk to risk the international condemnation of bloody repression.
"Another thing I want to assure Oh, is my own sense of pulse and extensive discussions, the CPG (Central People's Government) has absolutely no plans to send to the PLA (H the Liberation Army), "Lam said.
"They care about the international country of his country's profile. It took China a long time to build that kind of international profile and some to say that not only is it a big economy, it's also a responsible big economy, so that it abandons all these positive developments are clearly not on their agenda. "
On a personal note, Lam said that since her protests erupted, her private life had become extremely protected.
Any desire that Lam may need to go shopping or do her hair is completely in dispute, as she would be surrounded by young protesters wearing her unofficial black T-shirt with surgical masks or gas masks.
“It is extremely difficult for me today to get out. I haven't been on the streets, not in shopping malls, I can't go to a hair salon, I can't do anything because my whereabouts are going to spread through social media … and you can expect a big crowd of blacks – shirts and black masks
The CEO's office confirmed to Reuters that she had two private meetings with business leaders last week. But Lam's representatives did not offer further comment.
Reuters posted the audio on Monday since thousands of cold
Weekend protests reached another point of escalation as police fired water cannons at pro-democracy activists.
Former British Col. was returned to China in 1997 under the so-called "one country, two systems" formula. The deal was meant to guarantee Hong Kong residents speech and political freedom at least. 50 rs that their continental counterparts are not currently enjoying.
Hong Kong did not see this kind of widespread, week-long turmoil following the 1967 communist riots. Widely regarded as a spillover from the Cultural Revolution in mainland China, demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong to oppose British colonial rule.