Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has denied offering to resign, after audio was leaked of her saying she would if she could.
Reuters published on Monday a recording of a private meeting of business leaders that Ms Lam attended last week. In it she is heard blaming herself for igniting the territory’s political crisis, saying it was unforgiveable of her to have caused such huge havoc.
“If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology, is to step down,” the voice on the tape said.
Lam added that she had little power to handle the city’s current crisis, explaining she has to serve both Beijing and Hong Kong.
“The political room for the chief executive who, unfortunately, has to serve two masters by constitution, that is the central people’s government and the people of Hong Kong, that political room for manoeuvring is very, very, very limited,” she says on the tape.
She was also heard saying in the recording that China does not have a deadline by which it wants to solve the crisis in Hong Kong, and that Chinese authorities would not send in troops to end the protests.
On Tuesday, when asked about the leaked audio. She said it was “totally unacceptable” that her remarks made in private had been recorded and passed to the media.
“I have never tendered a resignation to the Central People’s Government…I have not even contemplated to discuss a resignation with the Central People’s Government,” the chief executive told reporters.
She also denied speculation that she or her government “had any role” in the leak, following suggestions it could have been orchestrated to regain sympathy and restore some of the public backing she has lost over past weeks.
Hong Kong has seen months of anti-government protests.
The protests were sparked by changes to a law that would allow extradition to mainland China, but have since widened to include calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality and demands for greater democracy.
Lam who introduced the bill, was forced to shelf it after public anger.
Source : Various