As Hong Kong’s protests rage on, Xi Jinping’s meeting with Carrie Lam and China’s fourth plenum promise more interference

South China Morning Post
Date: Nov 12, 2019
By: David Zweig


  • Chinese leaders’ expression of confidence in Lam means that it is unlikely that the PLA or Chinese police will soon be seen on Hong Kong streets
  • The attention paid to Hong Kong during the fourth plenum and news that central government officials will come to the city to explain the meeting’s communique should arouse concern

Illustration: Craig Stephens

What do Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s meetingswith China’s top leaders in Shanghai mean for Hong Kong? Viewing those meetings with some scepticism is warranted on several fronts.

First, while President Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Han Zheng expressed full confidence in Lam and acknowledged the work she and her team had done to resolve the crisis in Hong Kong, no one here really shares that view.

And why should we? Since the spring, we have watched as Lam’s extradition bill exploded from a “single spark” into a “prairie fire”, even as rational Hongkongers begged her to reconsider. We watched her ignore public opinion polls released in early June that showed just how unpopular the bill was. We watched her stoke the fire on June 10 when she announced that she would reject the concerns of the million protesters who had marched the day before.Her effort to ram her unpopular bill through the Legislative Council triggered the first serious violence between protesters and the police. Then, after declaring that she would never give in to violence, she did precisely that on June 15 when she put the bill’s reading on hold, teaching the protesters that violence pays.