Carrie Lam downplays surge in emigration

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has played down the wave of emigration following the enactment of the national security law, saying people who are leaving will eventually realise how good Hong Kong is, adding the administration will recruit talents from the mainland and overseas to maintain its status as an “international city”.

Lam said during a Commercial Radio programme on Sunday that some might choose to move away whenever there are major changes, and this had happened at the time of the handover in 1997.

She said she respects “personal choices” people make for their families, stressing that the surge in emigration “isn’t a big problem”.

“For Hong Kong to maintain its status as a successful international city, we will recruit overseas and mainland talent to come here. The message I’ve received recently is that, many people, a lot of them from the IT sector, are willing to come to Hong Kong,” she said, noting the SAR has a “similar life style with Western societies” and the city has an edge given its role in the Greater Bay Area.

Lam added people will realise how good the SAR really is once they’ve been away for some time, because of how orderly everything is here.

She also stressed that Beijing has never done anything and will not do anything to damage the One Country, Two Systems principle, because it’s its own national policy.

During the programme, the CE also said she thinks she’s done “not too bad a job” in the past four years as Hong Kong’s leader – having fulfilled vast majority of some 900 policy initiatives she had put forward.

The CE is due to deliver her last policy address for this term of government in October, but she has called on people not to hold their breaths for major policy changes, as she plans to focus more on mapping out her vision for Hong Kong’s future.

“It will sound like a policy address by a new Chief Executive,” she said.

But Lam stopped short of saying whether she has plans to seek a second term, or whether her family would support her if she seeks re-election.

“I really cannot talk about my family. Once I talk about them I’d get teary-eyed. They’ve made a lot of sacrifices for me,” she said.

“We understand each other. My two sons wouldn’t ask their mum to thank them publicly. The same goes for my husband. But I really can’t talk about it. Once I talk about it I’d feel very heartbroken.”