Carrie Lam and Xi Jinping - China and Hong Kong News

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Beijing is drawing up a plan to remove Hong Kong’s beleaguered Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, after nearly five months of pro-democracy unrest. The pro-Beijing leader has faced sustained criticism from protesters in the semi-autonomous city. So far, the Chinese central government has given its support to her and the Hong Kong police, calling the demonstrators “rioters” and condemning the violence. But according to the FT report, which quoted unnamed figures briefed on the deliberations, Beijing is drawing up a plan to replace her with an interim chief executive. However, sources told the newspaper that the plan would be dependent on the situation in the city first stabilising so that Beijing is not seen as giving in to violence. Lam’s office said it would not comment on speculation. Hong Kong has been battered by 20 weeks of protests and with no political solution in sight, clashes have intensified each month. Earlier this month, Lam — who has refused to grant any major concessions to protesters — invoked a colonial-era emergency law to ban face masks, setting off a new wave of protests and vandalism that shut down much of the city’s transport network. One of the protest leaders, Jimmy Sham, was hospitalised after being attacked by unknown assailants wielding hammers last week. If President Xi Jinping decides to go ahead with the plan to remove Lam, the report said her replacement would be installed by March. Leading candidates being considered to replace her reportedly include Norman…

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