Beijing, Nov 6 (efe-epa).- The chief executive of Hong Kong, during a visit to Beijing on Friday, said that stability has returned to the former British colony thanks to the national security law imposed by China earlier this year following protests in the island in the second half of 2019.
Carrie Lam made the statement while addressing reporters at the conclusion of her official visit to the Chinese capital.
“You don’t see major violent incidents anymore. So in this sense, the law has been very effective in having a deterrent effect,” said Lam, emphasizing that stability had now returned to Hong Kong.
In theory, the law aimed to defuse the largest crisis recently experienced in the financial hub following last year’s wave of protests that, on numerous occasions, ended up in serious violent incidents between police and radical protesters.
However, the legislation lays down punishments of up to life sentences for actions deemed to be separatist or collusion with foreign forces, generating much fear among many Hong Kong residents.
Since then, the police have carried out numerous raids and arrests of activists, some of whom have chosen to exiles themselves to try to avoid reprisals for activities that, under the new law, could be seen as a crime.
During her visit to Beijing, Lam met with Deputy Prime Minister Han Zheng, who congratulated the Hong Kong Chief Executive for “overcoming various challenges this year” such as fighting the pandemic and implementing the new national security law, according to state broadcaster RTHK.
During the meeting, Lam said there are “many areas where Hong Kong can integrate into the nation’s development” and that she deeply felt the central government’s “support” for the special administrative region.
During the press conference, Lam said that she received very encouraging response on her proposals for help from the mainland to help boost Hong Kong’s economy.
According to the state broadcaster, later this month Lam is expected to announce a stimulus package for Hong Kong’s battered economy.
In August, the Hong Kong government lowered its GDP forecast by six to eight percent for 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis.
However, the pandemic has not been the only problem for Hong Kong’s economy, which in 2019 had already entered into a technical recession – contracting 1.2 percent for the year – as a result of the anti-government protests in the city. EFE-EPA