Flags were flying at half-mast at the government's headquarters on Tuesday to mourn the 19 people who died in a bus crash in Tai Po over the weekend.
The Executive Council and the Legislative Council observed a moment of silence, and other government departments had also been told that they could make arrangements to do so as well. A number of government websites had been turned black and white.
Speaking ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, the Chief Executive Carrie Lam said President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and the head of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang, had – through the liaison office – conveyed sympathies and expressed their condolences to bereaved families, as well as those injured in the accident.
But she said the SAR government had not received any specific instructions on how to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy.
“There have not been any specific instruction on how the government or myself should handle this issue, because it’s really an internal affair happening in Hong Kong which I think we have demonstrated the needed capacity and decision making ability to tackle this issue,” said Lam.
“And I noticed that President Xi has sort of affirmed the necessary actions we have taken so far,” she added.
The government has announced that the Lunar New Year firework display will be cancelled this year, but the Tourism Board said the parade to be held on the first day of the new year will continue as planned.
Lam said she will cancel her plan to attend its opening ceremony, but said she thinks the board has made the right decision.
“Because it’s an international event targeting mainly tourists as well as performers coming from abroad, there will be more than ten such performing groups from the mainland and other countries to take part. I feel the balance is the right one to continue to host this parade,” she said.
Lam had earlier said principal officials and herself will stay as low-key as possible in the coming one or two weeks.