HONG KONG-The Hong Kong government’s first open dialogue with the community, to be held on Thursday evening, would, hopefully, be an inspiring start for the city’s social reconciliation, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday.
As of Monday, more than 20,000 people had registered online for the session to be held at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai, according to Lam. A total of 150 people will be selected randomly by drawing lots.
The platform for dialogue was one of four measures to address the ongoing social turmoil mooted by the chief executive on Sept 4, when she announced the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill, which triggered mass demonstrations that often morphed into violent vandalism and rioting since mid-June.
It will be an open interactive session aimed at inviting people from all walks of life to share their views with the government, so as to gauge the discontent in society and look for solutions, according to the government.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said the fact that a large number of people have signed up for dialogue is “very inspiring” for the government, and such interactions would not be one-off.
She promised more such sessions in future at the community level and also online. “This is an important part of my job,” she said.
Lam hopes to exchange views and communicate ideas with the public in a candid and frank manner, and pledged to humbly listen in order to find a way forward for Hong Kong.
However, she admitted it would not solve all thorny issues overnight. “It will be a long journey to achieve reconciliation in society, let alone to return to the more normal Hong Kong that we are all very familiar with... I will work very hard to achieve that,” she said.
The first session will not focus on a specific issue, but themed discussions are in the pipeline, covering pressing social issues including housing, land supply, education and healthcare.
Meanwhile, the government will break from the traditional way of handling the chief executive’s annual Policy Address, with some measures to be announced ahead of the speech, expected to be delivered next month, Lam said.
Specific measures targeting the renovation of old buildings, environmental protection and sports development will soon be announced by government officials.
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