Outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam says her term of governance coincided with the most challenging time for Hong Kong since the handover, but she overcame the difficulties and handed in a report card with no regrets.
Lam was speaking at her last question-and-answer session in Legco, where she also thanked the central government and her family for helping her power through.
“In the past five years, we have seen the biggest challenge for the SAR since reunification. The past five years were full of turbulence, but I remained undaunted,” she said.
“It was because I have a sense of mission. It is actually an historic mission. Although the public may have different views of me, and among members here, you may think that there’s room for improvement with the SAR government that I lead, but I can say this to you: I believe I have delivered a report card that I’m not ashamed of,” she said.
Lam said she had never thought about resigning during her term, because she believes “one must finish what one has started”.
“I believe that it’s a good ending to my 42 years of public service.”
Lam noted it’s been 25 years since Hong Kong’s return to China’s sovereignty.
She said some have described this year as “midway” through One Country, Two systems because Beijing promised it would remain unchanged for 50 years.
But the CE said she doesn’t agree with this, because the central government has made it clear that there’s no need to remove a system proven to work.
“We are now getting back on the right track of One Country, Two Systems. With such a good system of governance, there’s no need to change,” she said.
“In fact, recently the central authorities also sent a similar message, that there’s no need to change. Of course, if we encounter any new problems, we can always make improvements,” she told lawmakers.
Lam also said the electoral reform that ensured only patriots rule Hong Kong has made it possible for the government to implement many initiatives, such as the restructuring of the administration, closer ties with Shenzhen, and the re-tabling of a copyright amendment bill.
She said the next government will have to continue efforts to solve the housing shortage, enhance the quality of education, and improve people’s livelihoods.