Hong Kong leader aims to ease the housing crunch inflaming protests

A demonstrator holds a U.S. flag during a rally at the Southorn Playground in Hong Kong Tuesday Oct. 15 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong have thrown

A demonstrator holds a U.S. flag during a rally at the Southorn Playground in Hong Kong Tuesday Oct. 15 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong have thrown

When Lam started delivering the speech, she was shouted down by chanting pro-democracy lawmakers who held aloft placards showing her waving with hands colored blood-red.

In her policy statement, Lam was unapologetic about her government's response to the protests, which has included introducing British colonial-era emergency laws this month.

"Carrie Lam runs Hong Kong according to what the Beijing mouthpiece tells her to", said Kenneth Chan, a political science scholar at Hong Kong Baptist University, referring to two state-run Chinese newspapers.

Wong on Monday called on the U.S.to pass the law, then use it to pursue police officers accused of human rights abuses and torture of detainees during the protests, amid multiple allegations of the torture and sexual abuse of detained protesters.

She wasn't, however, expected to yield to key demands of protesters who've been demonstrating since June.

The bill would require the USA secretary of state to certify every year that Hong Kong retained its autonomy in order to keep receiving the special treatment that has allowed it to be a major financial center.

Also passed by the House on Tuesday was Resolution 543, reaffirming the relationship between the US and Hong Kong, voicing support for the protesters, and condemning Chinese interference in the city, as well as the Protect Hong Kong Act, which would end exports to Hong Kong of crowd control devices.

The annual policy speech was unusually short and focused on the deep social and economic inequalities that have proliferated in Hong Kong.

The House also approved, by a similar voice vote, a related bill to prohibit the export of certain non-lethal crowd control items such as tear gas to Hong Kong.

Lam's administration has struggled for months to resolve escalating protests sparked by a since-withdrawn bill allowing extraditions to China that have expanded into a broader push for greater democracy.

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"We urge the United States side to come to a clear assessment of the situation, immediately stop pushing the Hong Kong-related act and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs before falling off the edge of the cliff".

Hong Kong has experienced months of anti-government protests.

"This kind of behavior has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and is openly adding support to the opposition forces and radical forces in Hong Kong", an official at the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office reportedly stated.

In her address on Wednesday, Lam sharply criticised the protests, which have turned increasingly violent in recent weeks, blaming them for dragging the Chinese territory's economy into a recession.

Another lawmaker, Claudia Mo, said, "One, she [Lam] has no more right, no more authority, to govern Hong Kong, and the second thing is that she doesn't understand Hong Kong".

Local media said that Mrs Lam could deliver her annual speech in a pre-recorded message if protesters besieged the Legislative Council when it reconvenes today. She barely managed a few words before pro-democracy lawmakers forced her to stop talking.

Geng said Hong Kong's problem wasn't "so-called human rights and democracy issues", but instead, "sinister intentions to destroy Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and to contain China's development".

What is the situation in Hong Kong?

Speaking to reporters afterward, democratic lawmaker Tanya Chan said: "I really urge [Lam], if she can't govern Hong Kong, and has no determination to govern Hong Kong, and no ability or even capability of administrating Hong Kong, to please step down".

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