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Carrie Lam

林鄭月娥
港府執意推進《逃犯條例》修法民陣謹慎動員民眾抗爭1 (cropped).jpg
Carrie Lam in 2019
4th Chief Executive of Hong Kong
Assumed office
1 July 2017
Preceded byLeung Chun-ying
Chief Secretary for Administration
In office
1 July 2012 – 16 January 2017
Chief ExecutiveLeung Chun-ying
Preceded byStephen Lam
Succeeded byMatthew Cheung
Secretary for Development
In office
1 July 2007 – 30 June 2012
Chief ExecutiveDonald Tsang
Preceded by
  • Sarah Liao (Secretary for Environment, Transport & Works)
  • Michael Suen (Secretary for Housing, Planning & Lands)
Succeeded byMak Chai-kwong
Personal details
Born
Cheng Yuet-ngor

(1957-05-13) 13 May 1957 (age 63)[1]
Wan Chai, Hong Kong[2]
Nationality
Spouse(s)
(m. 1984)
Children2
ResidenceGovernment House, Hong Kong
EducationSt. Francis' Canossian College
Alma mater
OccupationPolitician, Civil Servant

GBM GBS (Chinese: 林鄭月娥; Cantonese Yale: Làhm Jehng Yuht-ngòh; née Cheng, born 13 May 1957) is a Hong Kong politician serving as the fourth and current Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017.[4] She served as the Secretary for Development from 2007 to 2012 and Chief Secretary for Administration from 2012 to 2017.

After graduating from the University of Hong Kong Lam joined the British Hong Kong civil service in 1980 and served in various government agencies. She became a key official in 2007 when she was appointed Secretary for Development. During her tenure, she earned the nickname "tough fighter" for her role in the controversial demolition of the Queen's Pier in 2008.

Lam became Chief Secretary for Administration under the Leung Chun-ying administration in 2012. From 2013 to 2015 Lam headed the Task Force on Constitutional Development for the 2014 Hong Kong electoral reform and held talks with student and opposition leaders during the widespread protests. In the 2017 Chief Executive selection process, Lam obtained 777 votes from the 1,194-member appointed Election Committee as the Beijing-favoured candidate and became the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

Lam's administration has seen controversies, including the trial and imprisonment of democracy activists, the disqualification of several pro-democracy candidates, as well as the criminalisation of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party.[5] Her government was also criticised for raising the qualification age for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and for its handling of the cross-harbour tunnel toll plan, among other policies.

In mid-2019, Lam's government pushed for a controversial amendment to the extradition law which received widespread domestic and international opposition. Massive protests broke out and persisted throughout the latter half of the year, from demanding the withdrawal of the bill to Lam's resignation among five key demands. Lam suspended the bill in June and did not withdraw the bill until September.[6][7][8][9] She also stood firmly against the other demands including an independent inquiry into police conduct and universal suffrage for Legislative Council and Chief Executive elections.[10] The clashes between the protesters and police escalated, which resulted in more than 9,000 arrests as of July 2020.[11][10] Lam's popularity also dropped to a historic low with the pro-Beijing camp suffering the worst landslide defeat in history in the November District Council election. Lam is commonly criticized by many leaders after allowing many events destroying the human rights society in Hong Kong.

Early life and education

Born Cheng Yuet-ngor to a low-income family of Zhoushan ancestry in Hong Kong, Lam was the fourth of five children.[12][13][2] She was born and grew up in Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, where she finished her primary and secondary education at St. Francis' Canossian College, a Catholic girls' school in the neighbourhood, where she was head prefect.[14][15][16][17]

After graduation, Lam attended the University of Hong Kong.[14] Through her student activism, she came to know Lee Wing-tat and Sin Chung-kai who later became prominent pro-democrat legislators. She co-organised exchange trips to Tsinghua University[13][12] in Beijing. To better understand society and participate more actively in student activities, she switched her course of study from social work to sociology after the first year to avoid placements.[University of Hong Kong Lam joined the British Hong Kong civil service in 1980 and served in various government agencies. She became a key official in 2007 when she was appointed Secretary for Development. During her tenure, she earned the nickname "tough fighter" for her role in the controversial demolition of the Queen's Pier in 2008.

Lam became Chief Secretary for Administration under the Leung Chun-ying administration in 2012. From 2013 to 2015 Lam headed the Task Force on Constitutional Development for the 2014 Hong Kong electoral reform and held talks with student and opposition leaders during the widespread protests. In the 2017 Chief Executive selection process, Lam obtained 777 votes from the 1,194-member appointed Election Committee as the Beijing-favoured candidate and became the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

Lam's administration has seen controversies, including the trial and imprisonment of democracy activists, the disqualification of several pro-democracy candidates, as well as the criminalisation of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party.[5] Her government was also criticised for raising the qualification age for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and for its handling of the cross-harbour tunnel toll plan, among other policies.

In mid-2019, Lam's government pushed for a controversial amendment to the extradition law which received widespread domestic and international opposition. Massive protests broke out and persisted throughout the latter half of the year, from demanding the withdrawal of the bill to Lam's resignation among five key demands. Lam suspended the bill in June and did not withdraw the bill until September.[6][7][8][9] She also stood firmly against the other demands including an independent inquiry into police conduct and universal suffrage for Legislative Council and Chief Executive elections.[10] The clashes between the protesters and police escalated, which resulted in more than 9,000 arrests as of July 2020.[11][10] Lam's popularity also dropped to a historic low with the pro-Beijing camp suffering the worst landslide defeat in history in the November District Council election. Lam is commonly criticized by many leaders after allowing many events destroying the human rights society in Hong Kong.

Born Cheng Yuet-ngor to a low-income family of Zhoushan ancestry in Hong Kong, Lam was the fourth of five children.[12][13][2] She was born and grew up in Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, where she finished her primary and secondary education at St. Francis' Canossian College, a Catholic girls' school in the neighbourhood, where she was head prefect.[14][15][16][17]

After graduation, Lam attended the University of Hong Kong.[14] Through her student activism, she came to know Lee Wing-tat and Sin Chung-kai who later became prominent pro-democrat legislators. She co-organised exchange trips to Tsinghua University[13][12] in Beijing. To better understand society and participate more actively in student activities, she switched her course of study from social work to sociology after the first year to avoid placements.[clarification needed][16][14] Lam eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in 1980.[1][18]

In 1982, when she was a civil servant, the Hong Kong government funded her studies at Cambridge University, where she met her future husband, mathematician Lam Siu-por.[19]

Civil service career

Lam joined the Administrative Service in 1980 after she graduated from the University of Hong Kong. She served in various bureaus and departments, spending about seven years in the Finance Bureau which involved budgetary planning and expenditure control. Initially, she worked as Principal Assistant Secretary and subsequently as Deputy Secretary for the Treasury in the 1990s.[20]

In 2000, Lam was promoted to the position of Director of the Social Welfare Department during a period of high unemployment and severe fiscal deficits in Hong Kong. She tightened the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme, making it available only to people who had lived in Hong Kong for more than seven years, excluding new immigrants. With other senior officials, she helped set up the We Care Education Fund, raising over HK$80 million to meet the long term educational needs of children whose parents died from the SARS epidemic in 2003.

In November 2003, Lam was appointed Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands and chairman of the Town Planning Board. She was soon appointed Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London in September 2004.[20]

On 8 March 2006, Lam returned to Hong Kong to take up the position as Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs. She was involved in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics Equestrian Events and the West Kowloon Cultural District plan.[20]

Secretary for Development

University of Hong Kong.[14] Through her student activism, she came to know Lee Wing-tat and Sin Chung-kai who later became prominent pro-democrat legislators. She co-organised exchange trips to Tsinghua University[13][12] in Beijing. To better understand society and participate more actively in student activities, she switched her course of study from social work to sociology after the first year to avoid placements.[clarification needed][16][14] Lam eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in 1980.[1][18]

In 1982, when she was a civil servant, the Hong Kong government funded her studies at Cambridge University, where she met her future husband, mathematician Lam Siu-por.[19]

Lam joined the Administrative Service in 1980 after she graduated from the University of Hong Kong. She served in various bureaus and departments, spending about seven years in the Finance Bureau which involved budgetary planning and expenditure control. Initially, she worked as Principal Assistant Secretary and subsequently as Deputy Secretary for the Treasury in the 1990s.[20]

In 2000, Lam was promoted to the position of Director of the Social Welfare Department during a period of high unemployment and severe fiscal deficits in Hong Kong. She tightened the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme, making it available only to people who had lived in Hong Kong for more than seven years, excluding new immigrants. With other senior officials, she helped set up the We Care Education Fund, raising over HK$80 million to meet the long term educational needs of children whose parents died from the SARS epidemic in 2003.

In November 2003, Lam was appointed Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands and chairman of the Town Planning Board. She was soon appointed Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London in September 2004.[20]

On 8 March 2006, Lam returned to Hong Kong to take up the position as Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs. She was involved in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics Equestrian Events and the West Kowloon Cultural District plan.[20]

On 1 July 2007, Lam left the civil service when she was appointed Secretary for Development by Chief Executive Donald Tsang, becoming one of the principal officials. In the first days of her office, Lam oversaw the demolition of the landmark Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier for the Star Ferry and the Queen's Pier to make way for land reclamation, which triggered occupation protests by the conservationists.

In July 2007, she attended a public forum at Queen's Pier in a bid to persuade the protesters to disperse and allow the demolition to begin. She firmly repeated the government's position that it was not an option to retain the pier and she would "not give the people false hope".[21] Her handling of the pier conflict earned her a reputation as a "tough fighter" by the then Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui.[22]

Lam also put forward a new Urban Renewal Strategy to lower the threshold for compulsory sale for redevelopment from 90 percent to 80 percent in 2010. Human rights organisations criticised the policy as benefiting the big real estate developers and violating the right to housing as recognised by the [21] Her handling of the pier conflict earned her a reputation as a "tough fighter" by the then Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui.[22]

Lam also put forward a new Urban Renewal Strategy to lower the threshold for compulsory sale for redevelopment from 90 percent to 80 percent in 2010. Human rights organisations criticised the policy as benefiting the big real estate developers and violating the right to housing as recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as the bargaining power of the small owners would be undermined.[23]

In 2012, Lam led the Development Bureau in cracking down unauthorised building works largely found in the indigenous villages in the New Territories.[24] The change in law enforcement policy was opposed by leaders of rural communities and the Heung Yee Kuk, a statutory body representing rural interests. The Heung Yee Kuk staged protests against Lam and accused her of "robbing villagers of their fundamental rights".[25] Lam also tried to tackle the "Small House Policy", which has been subject to abuse amidst a land crunch. The policy gives male indigenous villagers in the New Territories the right to build a house close to their ancestral homes but the policy has drawn criticism because in some cases, it has been abused for profit.[16][24]

In recognition of her achievements as Secretary for Development, she was awarded honorary member of the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects, honorary fellow of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Property Person of the Year in the RICS Hong Kong Property Awards 2012, honorary member of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, honorary member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, honorary fellow member of the Hong Kong Institute of Architectural Conservationists, and honorary fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[20]

During the 2012 Chief Executive election, Lam cracked down on the unauthorised building works of Chief Executive candidate Henry Tang who was contesting Leung Chun-ying. That scandal put paid to Tang's hopes of becoming Chief Executive. Leung was later found to also have unauthorised building works at his house. Lam was criticised for letting him get away with it.[24]

After hinting she would retire in the United Kingdom with her family, Lam received appointment to become the Chief Secretary for Administration under Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on 1 July 2012. Her popularity started to shrink as Chief Secretary as the Moral and National Education controversy sparked in the first months of the Leung administration, which saw Lam's popularity rating dipped two percentage points from 64 percent to 62 percent.[26]

2014 political reform and protests

In October 2013, she became the head of the Task Force on Constitutional Development headed by Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam which was responsible for the constitutional reform consultation for the electoral methods for the 2017 Chief Executive election and 2016 Legislative Council election. After

In October 2013, she became the head of the Task Force on Constitutional Development headed by Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam which was responsible for the constitutional reform consultation for the electoral methods for the 2017 Chief Executive election and 2016 Legislative Council election. After Hong Kong Basic Law Committee member Rao Geping explicitly ruled out any form of open nomination for candidates in the 2017 Chief Executive election at a seminar, Lam characterised Rao's statement as "setting the tune of the gong with a final hit" which received attacks from the pan-democrats that Lam had effectively put an end to consultation on the issue even before it has begun.[27]

After the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) decreed the restriction on the 2017 Chief Executive election in August 2014, the pro-democracy suffragists launched a large-scale occupation protests which lasted for 79 days. In response to the occupations, Lam announced that the second round of public consultations on political reform, originally planned to be completed by the end of the year, would be postponed.[28]

During the midst of the occupation protests, Lam also held talks in a televised open debate with student leaders on 21 October. In the talks, Lam obdurately resisted, stating that students' proposal of civil nomination falls outside of the framework imposed by the Basic Law and the NPCSC decision, which could not be retracted.[29]

The political reform uproar caused Lam to lose her long-held title as one of the most popular government officials when her approval ratings in a University of Hong Kong poll plunged to its lowest level since she became Chief Secretary.[16] The constitutional reform proposals were defeated in the Legislative Council in June 2015.

Lam sparked controversy when she was the only principal official not to offer an apology for the lead-in-water scandal, insisting that, "even though the commission’s hearings reflected an inadequate awareness by government departments and flaws in the monitoring system, it did not necessarily equate to particular officials not following laws or neglecting duties – because of that, they do not have to bear personal responsibility."[30] She fought back pan-democrat legislators in a Legislative Council meeting, criticising the pan-democrats for politicising the scandal, stating that she could be as bold as she wants as "a government official with no expectation is always courageous". Her words were criticised for being arrogant.

She stirred another controversy when she, in a speech to open the Caritas Bazaar in 2015, Lam cited the eight Beatitudes, saying "Some said that the eighth blessing applies very well to me – it says, 'blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven' – there is already a place reserved for me in heaven." Senior cleric, The Reverend Thomas Law Kwok-Fai, told the media "No one would say that about themselves ... I won’t dare to myself", while a senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said that Lam sounded arrogant.[31]

In December 2016, Lam was under fire when she announced a deal with Beijing for the plans for a Hong Kong Palace Museum as the chair of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority without any public consultation and transparency during the decision-making process. She was also criticised for appointing architect Rocco Yim Sen-kee to start a HK$4.5 million feasibility study for building the museum and exhibition centre complex behind closed doors months before the authority board chose the architect as its design consultant. Lam linked the backlash to her announcement that she would "reconsider" running in the 2017 Chief Executive election after incumbent Leung Chun-ying said he would not seek a second term.[32] Lam previously said that she would retire in the English countryside with her family after her term ended in 2017.[16][33]

2017 Chief Executive bid

Lam formally announced her plan to enter the 2017 Chief Executive election after resigning as Chief Secretary on 12 January 2017, ending her 36-year government career. She also set out what she described as an eight-point "achievable new vision" with a call to play to "strengths with determination and confidence".[34] The election rally with the campaign slogan of "We Connect" including the catchwords "We Care, We Listen, We Act" was attended by many pro-Beijing figures and tycoons from both the Henry Tang and Leung Chun-ying camps in the last election. She also revealed a star-studded campaign team, which included council of chairpersons and senior advisers consisting of heavyweights including senior pro-Beijing politicians and tycoons.[35]

On 6 February, multiple media reports said National People's Congress (NPC) chairman Zhang Dejiang, who was simultaneously head of the Communist Party's Central Coordination Group for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, and Sun Chunlan, head of the party's United Front Work Department, were in Shenzhen to meet with some Election Committee members from the major business chambers and political groups.[36] It was reported that Zhang told the electors that the Politburo of the Communist Party had decided to support Carrie Lam in the election.[37]

In response to the criticism of not having a full election platform, Lam revea

On 6 February, multiple media reports said National People's Congress (NPC) chairman Zhang Dejiang, who was simultaneously head of the Communist Party's Central Coordination Group for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, and Sun Chunlan, head of the party's United Front Work Department, were in Shenzhen to meet with some Election Committee members from the major business chambers and political groups.[36] It was reported that Zhang told the electors that the Politburo of the Communist Party had decided to support Carrie Lam in the election.[37]

In response to the criticism of not having a full election platform, Lam revealed her manifesto titled "Connecting for Consensus and A Better Future" on 27 February, two days before the nomination period ended. The platform focused on reforming the government structure and boosting the economy, but did not make any promise on relaunching the political reform or Article 23 legislation.[38] Carrie Lam submitted a total of 579 nominations on 28 February, just 22 votes short of the final number needed to win the race. Lam dominated in the pro-Beijing business and political sectors, winning three-quarters of the votes in the business sector, but failed to receive any nomination from the pro-democracy camp.

On 26 March 2017, Lam was elected Chief Executive with 777 votes in the 1,194-member Election Committee, 197 more votes than she got in the nomination period. She is the first female leader of Hong Kong, the first candidate to be elected without leading in the polls and the first leader to have graduated from the University of Hong Kong. She pledged to "heal the social divide" and "unite our society to move forward" in her victory speech.[39]

Lam received the appointment from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on 11 April 2017.[40] Lam was sworn in by General Secretary of the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping, on 1 July 2017,[41] the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Special Administrative Region, becoming the first female Chief Executive.[42]

Suppression on localists and independentists

Disqualifications of localists