China planning to replace Carrie Lam with interim leader, but only if protests die down
Lam had previously offered to resign in July, but the Chinese government refused to let her.
China is making plans to replace Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam with an “interim” chief executive, according to the Financial Times.
This is following a series of increasingly violent protests that began in early June this year.
However, sources reveal that Chinese officials want the protests to die down before making a decision regarding the leadership change, as they do not want to be seen giving in to violence.
Lam’s successor would take over in March 2020 if approved
According to the Financial Times, Lam’s successor would take over by March 2020, and cover the remainder of her term, which ends in 2022.
This is subject to the approval of China’s President Xi Jinping.
China hopes that the violence will subside by March, when China’s National People’s Congress holds its annual session.
Lam had previously offered to resign in July, but the Chinese government refused to let her, insisting that she “stay to clean up the mess she created”.
Financial Times reported that leading candidates to succeed Lam include Norman Chan, former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and Henry Tang, son of a textile magnate who has also served as the territory’s financial secretary and chief secretary for administration.
However, Chan is seen as a more viable candidate, since he headed the widely respected Hong Kong Monetary Authority for a decade.
In comparison, Tang only has experience serving under Lam’s predecessors, and is potentially viewed as being too close to her administration.
Tang also campaigned to be chief executive in 2012, and was initially viewed as Beijing’s preferred choice for the role.
However, his credibility was impacted after it was discovered that he built two unapproved basement extensions in his home.
According to a prominent member of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing establishment, potential candidates must have served in government, but also know how business operates in Hong Kong.
“And of course they need to be trusted by Beijing,” he said.
Top image from Carrie Lam’s Facebook.