Hong Kong leader says she won’t blindly obey Beijing’s orders

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HONG KONG Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she would not blindly obey the orders of Communist Party leaders in Beijing, while admitting the government has no way to suppress skyrocketing prices in one of the most expensive property markets in the world.

A recent poll shows that Mrs Lam is more popular than her predecessor, but some accuse her of being a puppet of Beijing.

Specifically, they criticise her for pushing an arrangement that will allow Chinese officials to enforce Chinese laws in a high-speed railway station due to open next year.

Mrs Lam said she was accountable to both the Hong Kong public and Beijing, but she would not blindly obey the central authorities.

"Being accountable does not mean you have to do everything you are told," she said.

"If the central government asks me to do something that I think is beyond what Hong Kong people can bear or against Hong Kong's developmental interests, then of course I have the duty to tell the central government and fight for a more favourable arrangement for Hong Kong."

Mrs Lam also said she did not plan to kick-start legislation for a controversial national security law next year and urged people not to "demonise" it.

Asked about Hong Kong's red-hot property market, where prices have shot up more than 12 per cent over the past year and are expected to climb another 10 per cent next year, Mrs Lam said the government was helpless in reversing the trend.

She also said that while she has never promised to suppress property prices, she would seek more land to boost long-term housing supply. - REUTERS