World

China not tightening grip on Hong Kong: Lam

China will not use protests in Hong Kong to increase its control over the city.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Chinese President Xi Jinping offered this personal assurance to her.

Speaking to Bloomberg Television in Davos where she was attending the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, Mrs Lam said the financial hub remains stable despite more than seven months of violent protests.

"We are resilient. We are stable and investors still have confidence in us," Mrs Lam said in Davos. "The rule of law is sound in Hong Kong."

Speaking in an interview with CNBC, Mrs Lam also said she was "very disappointed" by Moody's decision to downgrade Hong Kong, reported Reuters.

"I am even more disappointed by their assessment of the Hong Kong situation, and their comment on the weak institutions and governance," she said.

"Because after seven months of social unrest, what has proven to be resilient is Hong Kong institutions and also Hong Kong governance."

Since its return to Beijing in 1997, the former British colony has been governed under a "one country, two systems" formula that guarantees it broad freedoms not seen in China, including an independent judiciary and free press.

Those liberties, which protesters say Beijing is gradually chipping away at, are viewed as central to the city's prosperity and any erosion could have a significant impact on its status as a global financial centre.

Mrs Lam said Beijing was not pulling the strings during the protests and the Hong Kong government was calling the shots.

She told Bloomberg television: "They have not given any explicit directive on how to handle it, except that they made it clear the solution also has to abide by 'one country, two systems'."

WORLD