Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor
|4th Chief Executive of Hong Kong|
|Assumed office |
1 July 2017
|Preceded by||Leung Chun-ying|
|Chief Secretary for Administration|
1 July 2012 – 16 January 2017
|Chief Executive||Leung Chun-ying|
|Preceded by||Stephen Lam|
|Succeeded by||Matthew Cheung|
|Secretary for Development|
1 July 2007 – 30 June 2012
|Chief Executive||Donald Tsang|
|Preceded by||Sarah Liao (Secretary for Environment, Transport & Works)|
Michael Suen (Secretary for Housing, Planning & Lands)
|Succeeded by||Mak Chai-kwong|
13 May 1957
Wan Chai, British Hong Kong
|Nationality||Chinese (since 1997)|
British (before 2007)
Lam Siu-por (m. 1984)
|Education||St. Francis' Canossian College|
|Alma mater||University of Hong Kong|
Wolfson College, Cambridge (diploma course)
|Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor|
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBM, GBS (Chinese: 林鄭月娥; Cantonese Yale: Làhm Jehng Yuht-ngòh; née Cheng, born 13 May 1957) is a Hong Kong politician serving as the 4th Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017. She served as the Chief Secretary for Administration, the most senior principal official, from 2012 to 2017, and as Secretary for Development from 2007 to 2012.
After graduating from the University of Hong Kong Lam joined the British Hong Kong civil service in 1980 and served in various government agencies. She became a key official in 2007 when she was appointed Secretary for Development. During her tenure, she earned the nickname "tough fighter" for her role in the controversial demolition of the Queen's Pier.
She became Chief Secretary for Administration under the Leung Chun-ying administration in 2012. From 2013 to 2015 Lam headed the Task Force on Constitutional Development for the 2014 Hong Kong electoral reform and held talks with student and opposition leaders during the widespread protests. In the 2017 Chief Executive election, Lam won the three-way election with 777 votes of the 1,194-member Election Committee as the Beijing-favoured candidate, becoming the first female Chief Executive in Hong Kong history.
Lam's administration has been mired in numerous controversies including the trial and imprisonment of activists as well as the disqualification of several pro-democracy candidates and the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party. Her government also received criticism for raising the age of threshold for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance welfare scheme and the handling of the cross-harbour tunnel toll plan, among other policies.
In 2019, Lam’s government pushed for the controversial amendment to the extradition law. The widespread opposition to the bill and Lam's hardline approach on the issue sparked massive protests attended by nearly two million protesters who called for the withdrawal of the bill and her resignation, which led to the indefinite suspension of the bill. Protests continued throughout the summer of 2019 as protestors renewed demands for the complete withdrawal of the bill, free elections, an independent inquiry on police brutality, the release of arrested protesters and for the government to retract the characterization of the protests as "riots".
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Civil service career
- 3 Secretary for Development
- 4 Chief Secretary for Administration
- 5 2017 Chief Executive bid
- 6 Chief Executive of Hong Kong
- 6.1 Suppression on localists and independentists
- 6.2 Infrastructure projects
- 6.3 Late 2018 to early 2019 crises
- 6.4 Extradition bill controversy
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Honours
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Early life and education
Born Cheng Yuet-ngor to a low-income family of Zhoushan ancestry in Hong Kong, Lam was the fourth of five children. She was born and grew up in Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, where she finished her primary and secondary education at St. Francis' Canossian College, a Catholic girls' school in the neighborhood, where she was head prefect.
After graduation, Lam attended the University of Hong Kong. Through her student activism, she came to know Lee Wing-tat and Sin Chung-kai who later became prominent pro-democrat legislators. She co-organised exchange trips to Tsinghua University. To better understand society and participate more actively in student activities, she switched her course of study from social work to sociology after the first year to avoid placements. Lam eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in 1980.
Civil service career
Lam joined the Administrative Service in 1980 after she graduated from the University of Hong Kong. She served in various bureaux and departments, spending about seven years in the Finance Bureau which involved in budgetary planning and expenditure control. Initially, she worked as Principal Assistant Secretary and subsequently as Deputy Secretary for the Treasury in the 1990s.
In 2000, Lam was promoted to the position of Director of the Social Welfare Department during a period of high unemployment and severe fiscal deficits in Hong Kong. She tightened the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme, making it available only to people who had lived in Hong Kong for more than seven years, excluding new immigrants. With other senior officials, she helped set up the We Care Education Fund, raising over HK$80 million to meet the long term educational needs of children whose parents died from the SARS epidemic in 2003.
In November 2003, Lam was appointed Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands (Planning and Lands) and chairman of the Town Planning Board. She was soon appointed Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London in September 2004.
On 8 March 2006, Lam returned to Hong Kong to take up the position as Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs. She was involved in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics Equestrian Events and the West Kowloon Cultural District plan.
Secretary for Development
On 1 July 2007, Lam left the civil service when she was appointed Secretary for Development by Chief Executive Donald Tsang, becoming one of the principal officials. In the first days of her office, Lam oversaw the demolition of the landmark Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier for the Star Ferry and the Queen's Pier to make way for land reclamation, which triggered occupation protests by the conservationists.
In July 2007, she attended a public forum at Queen's Pier in a bid to persuade the protesters to disperse and allow the demolition to begin. She firmly repeated the government’s position that it was not an option to retain the pier and she would "not give the people false hope". Her handling of the pier conflict earned her a reputation as a "tough fighter" by the then Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui.
Lam also put forward a new Urban Renewal Strategy to lower the threshold for compulsory sale for redevelopment from 90 percent to 80 percent in 2010. Human rights organisations criticised the policy as benefiting the big real estate developers and violating the right to housing as recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as the bargaining power of the small owners would be undermined.
In 2012, Lam led the Development Bureau in cracking down unauthorised building works largely found in the indigenous villages in the New Territories. The change in law enforcement policy was opposed by leaders of rural communities and the Heung Yee Kuk, a statutory body representing rural interests. The Heung Yee Kuk staged protests against Lam and accused her of "robbing villagers of their fundamental rights". Lam also tried to tackle the "Small House Policy", which has been subject to abuse amidst a land crunch. The policy gives male indigenous villagers in the New Territories the right to build a house close to their ancestral homes but the policy has drawn criticism because in some cases, it has been abused for profit.
In recognition of her achievements as Secretary for Development, she was awarded honorary member of the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects, honorary fellow of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Property Person of the Year in the RICS Hong Kong Property Awards 2012, honorary member of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, honorary member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, honorary fellow member of the Hong Kong Institute of Architectural Conservationists, and honorary fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
During the 2012 Chief Executive election, Lam cracked down on the unauthorised building works of Chief Executive candidate Henry Tang who was contesting Leung Chun-ying. That scandal put paid to Tang’s hopes of becoming Chief Executive. Leung was later found to also have unauthorised building works at his house. Lam was criticised for letting him get away with it.
Chief Secretary for Administration
After hinting she would retire in the United Kingdom with her family, Lam received appointment to become the Chief Secretary for Administration under Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on 1 July 2012. Her popularity started to shrink as Chief Secretary as the Moral and National Education controversy sparked in the first months of the Leung administration, which saw Lam's popularity rating dipped two percentage points from 64 percent to 62 percent.
2014 political reform and protests
In October 2013, she became the head of the Task Force on Constitutional Development headed by Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam which was responsible for the constitutional reform consultation for the electoral methods for the 2017 Chief Executive election and 2016 Legislative Council election. After Hong Kong Basic Law Committee member Rao Geping explicitly ruled out any form of open nomination for candidates in the 2017 Chief Executive election at a seminar, Lam characterised Rao’s statement as "setting the tune of the gong with a final hit" which received attacks from the pan-democrats that Lam had effectively put an end to consultation on the issue even before it has begun.
After the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) decreed the restriction on the 2017 Chief Executive election in August 2014, the pro-democracy suffragists launched a large-scale occupation protests which lasted for 79 days. In response to the occupations, Lam announced that the second round of public consultations on political reform, originally planned to be completed by the end of the year, would be postponed.
During the midst of the occupation protests, Lam also held talks in a televised open debate with student leaders on 21 October. In the talks, Lam obdurately resisted, stating that students' proposal of civil nomination falls outside of the framework imposed by the Basic Law and the NPCSC decision, which could not be retracted.
The political reform uproar caused Lam to lose her long-held title as one of the most popular government officials when her approval ratings in a University of Hong Kong poll plunged to its lowest level since she became Chief Secretary. The constitutional reform proposals were defeated in the Legislative Council in June 2015.
Lead-in-water scandal and controversies
Lam sparked controversy when she was the only principal official not to offer an apology for the lead-in-water scandal, insisting that, "even though the commission’s hearings reflected an inadequate awareness by government departments and flaws in the monitoring system, it did not necessarily equate to particular officials not following laws or neglecting duties – because of that, they do not have to bear personal responsibility." She fought back pan-democrat legislators in a Legislative Council meeting, criticising the pan-democrats for politicising the scandal, stating that she could be as bold as she wants as "a government official with no expectation is always courageous". Her words were criticised for being arrogant.
She stirred another controversy when she, in a speech to open the Caritas Bazaar in 2015, Lam cited the eight Beatitudes, saying "Some said that the eighth blessing applies very well to me – it says, 'blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven' – there is already a place reserved for me in heaven." Senior cleric, The Reverend Thomas Law Kwok-Fai, told the media "No one would say that about themselves… I won’t dare to myself", while a senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said that Lam sounded arrogant.
Palace Museum controversy
In December 2016, Lam was under fire when she announced a deal with Beijing for the plans for a Hong Kong Palace Museum as the chair of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority without any public consultation and transparency during the decision-making process. She was also criticised for appointing architect Rocco Yim Sen-kee to start a HK$4.5 million feasibility study for building the museum and exhibition centre complex behind closed doors months before the authority board chose the architect as its design consultant. Lam linked the backlash to her announcement that she would "reconsider" running in the 2017 Chief Executive election after incumbent Leung Chun-ying said he would not seek a second term. Lam previously said that she would retire in the English countryside with her family after her term ended in 2017.
2017 Chief Executive bid
Lam formally announced her plan to enter the 2017 Chief Executive election after resigning as Chief Secretary on 12 January 2017, ending her 36-year government career. She also set out what she described as an eight-point "achievable new vision" with a call to play to "strengths with determination and confidence". The election rally with the campaign slogan of "We Connect" including the catchwords "We Care, We Listen, We Act" was attended by many pro-Beijing figures and tycoons from both the Henry Tang and Leung Chun-ying camps in the last election. She also revealed a star-studded campaign team, which included council of chairpersons and senior advisers consisting of heavyweights including senior pro-Beijing politicians and tycoons.
On 6 February, multiple media reports said National People's Congress (NPC) chairman Zhang Dejiang, who was simultaneously head of the Communist Party's Central Coordination Group for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, and Sun Chunlan, head of the party's United Front Work Department, were in Shenzhen to meet with some Election Committee members from the major business chambers and political groups. It was reported that Zhang told the electors that the Politburo of the Communist Party had decided to support Carrie Lam in the election.
In response to the criticism of not having a full election platform, Lam revealed her manifesto titled "Connecting for Consensus and A Better Future" on 27 February, two days before the nomination period ended. The platform focused on reforming the government structure and boosting the economy, but did not make any promise on relaunching the political reform or Article 23 legislation. Carrie Lam submitted a total of 579 nominations on 28 February, just 22 votes short of the final number needed to win the race. Lam dominated in the pro-Beijing business and political sectors, winning three-quarters of the votes in the business sector, but failed to receive any nomination from the pro-democracy camp.
On 26 March 2017, Lam was elected Chief Executive with 777 votes in the 1,194-member Election Committee, 197 more votes than she got in the nomination period. She is the first female leader of Hong Kong, the first candidate to be elected without leading in the polls and the first leader to have graduated from the University of Hong Kong. She pledged to "heal the social divide" and "unite our society to move forward" in her victory speech.
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
Lam received the appointment from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on 11 April 2017. Lam was sworn in by General Secretary of the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping, on 1 July 2017, the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Special Administrative Region, becoming the first female Chief Executive.
Suppression on localists and independentists
Disqualifications of localists
In July 2017 weeks after Lam sworn in, four pro-democracy legislators Leung Kwok-hung, Yiu Chung-yim, Nathan Law and Lau Siu-lai who were legally challenged for their oath-taking manners by the then Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen were disqualified by the court. The event caused the quick deterioration of the relations between the pro-democracy camp and the government after the strained relations had been improved compared to Lam's predecessor Leung Chun-ying. Lam pledged she would not target more pro-democrats in oath-taking controversy.
In the 2018 Legislative Council by-election for four of the six vacancies left by the disqualified legislators, Demosistō candidate Agnes Chow was disqualified for her party's platform of calling for "self-determination". After the European Union issued a statement warning that banning Chow from the by-election "risks diminishing Hong Kong’s international reputation as a free and open society", Lam defended the returning officer's decision, but denied that she had anything to do with the returning officer, stating that "there are absolutely no grounds for that sort of accusation or allegation of pressure."
In the November 2018 Kowloon West by-election, the candidacy of the ousted legislator Lau Siu-lai was also disqualified by the returning officer as she advocated for "self-determination" on her 2016 electoral platform. Her ally and elected legislator Eddie Chu, who signed the same statement in the 2016 election, was also barred from running in the rural representative election in December 2018. Lam supported the Returning Officer's decision that "had been made in accordance with the Rural Representative Election Ordinance."
Ban on pro-independence party
In July 2018, the Hong Kong Police Force unprecedentedly served the convenor of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party Chan Ho-tin a notice under the Societies Ordinance and sought to ban the Party. The police claimed that the party has engaged in sedition and that the party may be banned on grounds of national security with respect to Chinese territorial integrity. The notice contained highly detailed surveillance material on the party leadership's public engagements. On 24 October 2018, Chan Ho-tin and party spokesman Jason Chow Ho-fai filed appeals against the ban with the Chief Executive and Executive Council but were eventually rejected.
In August, a controversy erupted in 2018 when the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) hosted a lunchtime talk with Chan Ho-tin on 14 August. A Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet, vice-chairman of the press organisation, chaired the session. The event was opposed by the governments of China and Hong Kong, because the issue of independence supposedly crossed one of the "bottom lines" on national sovereignty. Upon returning to Hong Kong after a visit to Bangkok, Mallet was denied a working visa by the Hong Kong government. Mallet was subjected to a four-hour interrogation by immigration officers on his return from Thailand on Sunday 7 October before he was finally allowed to enter Hong Kong on a seven-day tourist visa. Carrie Lam refused to make any comment, only stating that the Immigration Department was not obliged to explain individual cases.
Express Rail Link co-location plan
In July 2017, the Lam administration proposed co-location arrangement of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) has sparked concerns that it might constitute a breach of the Basic Law and undermine Hong Kong's autonomy of "One Country, Two Systems", especially regarding the immigration control issue. In January 2018, Carrie Lam slammed the Hong Kong Bar Association for its criticism on the "co-location arrangement" which would allow the mainland customs officers will be allowed to set up checkpoints and exercise jurisdiction at the West Kowloon Station. The Bar Association criticised the arrangement for distortion of the Basic Law, stating it damages the rule of law in Hong Kong as Article 18 was clearly written and leaves no room for any interpretation which would allow Chinese law to apply in any certain part of HKSAR.
Lam defended the bill and responded by stating that "some Hong Kong legal professionals have an elitist mentality or double standards, that is, they think that Hong Kong’s legal system is supreme, and that the mainland legal system – a big country with a 1.3 billion population – is wrong." Her statement prompted widespread disbelief as she appeared to defend Chinese legal system being better than Hong Kong's legal system which is derived from British system, accusing her of hypocrisy as she herself is seen as an elite out of touch with society, damaging the One Country, Two Systems principle and for attacking the character instead of the arguments of Hong Kong's lawyers.
The long-debated plan was finally passed on 14 June 2018 in the Legislative Council by 40 to 20 votes after Legislative Council President Andrew Leung capped debate time for the bill at 36 hours to counter pro-democrats' filibustering. The cross-border Express Rail Link was opened on 22 September 2018, followed by the opening of another cross-border infrastructure Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge on 23 October 2018 by Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping. Lam entering the venue side-by-side with Xi and ahead of Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui and First Vice Premier Han Zheng. The entrance raised eyebrows among those who saw it as a departure from protocol for her to walk in front of top mainland officials.
Lantau Tomorrow Vision
In October 2018, Lam launched a development plan in her second policy address which suggested the construction of artificial islands with a total area of about 1,700 hectares through massive land reclamation near Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau of the eastern waters of Lantau Island. The project meets with controversies and opposition for its high cost of estimated HK$500 billion (US$63.8 billion) – amounting to half of the city’s fiscal reserves, as well as environmental concerns.
Late 2018 to early 2019 crises
UGL case closure
On 12 December 2018, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) announced it would not take any "further investigative action" against Leung Chun-ying over his recipient of HK$50 million from the Australian engineering firm UGL, ending the four-year marathon probe. The Department of Justice also issued a statement claiming there was "insufficient evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction" against Leung for any criminal offence.
Carrie Lam defended Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng who was strongly criticised for not following the conventional procedure of seeking external legal advice in the UGL case. Lam said Cheng had made a profession call and she hoped the UGL saga, which had been a point of contention for four years, could finally end.
Age threshold of the elderly CSSA
In January 2019, the Lam administration announced that the age threshold for elderly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) would jump from 60 to 65, starting in February. She faced opposition from both the pro-Beijing and pro-democracy legislators, in which she responded that it was the Legislative Council who approved the change in the CSSA scheme, as part of the 2018 Budget. Her remarks attracted backlashes from the legislators as well as the public. On 18 January, Lam backed down by announcing that people affected would get a new employment support supplement that would cover the cut. The Lam government also made an U-turn by suspending the controversial plan to impose a HK$200 penalty on Hong Kong’s senior citizens claiming welfare payments without joining a job programme.
$4,000 handout scheme
The government was also under fire by the HK$4,000 handout scheme proposed in the Financial Secretary Paul Chan's 2018 Budget in which adult residents would get up to HK$4,000 if they do not own property or get government benefits. The application procedure was criticised for being too complicated. Applicants were initially required to provide an address proof. Facing the criticism, the government later waived the address proof requirement.
Amid the UGL case and the mismanagements, the average score of Carrie Lam further plunged to a new low in mid January to 50.9 in the poll by the University of Hong Kong, dropping 5.5 points from the previous month. Her net approval rating fell 21 percentage points to a new low. In another poll conducted by Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lam scored the lowest point of only 50.9 per cent – 1.8 percentage points lower than the previous month. Lam softened her tone after the widespread criticism. "The implementation of these measures has made people question the ability of this administration to govern," Lam said. "I completely accept this criticism."
Cross-harbour tunnel toll plan
The Lam administration first presented a cross-harbour tunnel toll plan in January 2019 to balance the traffic between the three cross-harbour tunnels by raising tolls at the publicly operated overused Cross-Harbour Tunnel and Eastern Harbour Tunnel, while lowering them for the privately run Western Harbour Tunnel which was underused because of its higher charges. But Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan abruptly withdrew it after strong opposition from the Legislative Council. The government made two changes to the motion in the hope of getting more support, but legislators across the political spectrum remained unconvinced. In March, Carrie Lam said her government has decided to shelve the plan for the second time as the government could not get enough votes in the legislature, symbolising the first defeat of the Lam administration.
Extradition bill controversy
The push by Carrie Lam's government to make amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance sparked widespread concerns and opposition within Hong Kong as well as overseas in mid 2019. The debate was sparked by a Hong Kong resident's alleged murder of his girlfriend in Taiwan in 2018. As there were no existing extradition mechanisms between Hong Kong and Mainland China, Macau or Taiwan, the government had no legislation which would enable it to request the suspect's extradition. In February 2019, the government proposed changes to plug the "legal loophole" by establishing a mechanism for case-by-case transfers of fugitives to any jurisdiction with which the city lacks a formal extradition treaty.
The opposition expressed fears about the city opening itself to the long arm of Mainland Chinese law and that Hongkongers could be victimised under the Mainland Chinese legal system. They urged the government to establish an extradition arrangement with Taiwan only. The business community also raised concerns over the mainland’s court system. On 28 April, an estimated 130,000 protesters joined the march against the proposed extradition law. The following day, Lam insisted that the bill would still proceed and that the Legislative Councillors must still pass new extradition laws before their summer break.
Lam also said the Mainland was never intentionally excluded from the extradition laws created prior to the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. "It was not what was said, that there were fears over the mainland’s legal system after the handover, or that China had agreed to it. This is all trash talk," Lam said. This claim was refuted by the last colonial governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten and the last colonial Chief Secretary Anson Chan. "Both Hong Kong and China knew very well that there had to be a firewall between our different legal systems," said Patten.
Escalation and June 9 march
The issue gained international attention as the Beijing authorities, the US and EU got involved. Beijing authorities weighed in when Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Zhang Xiaoming, Director of the Liaison Office Wang Zhimin, First Vice Premier Han Zheng and Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Wang Yang showed support for the extradition law in mid May. Lam defended Beijing's involvement, saying that mainland officials offered their views only after the bill controversy had been "escalated" by foreign powers, allegedly seizing the opportunity to attack the mainland’s legal system and human rights record. It was escalated to the level of "One Country, Two Systems’ and the constitutionality concerning the Basic Law.
Lam survived the first motion of no-confidence against her with the backing of the pro-Beijing majority in the legislature on 29 May. Democratic Party legislator Andrew Wan who moved the motion claimed that Lam "blatantly lied" about the extradition bill, misleading the public and the international community, as Lam claimed that colonial officials did not deliberately exclude China from extradition laws ahead of the 1997 handover.
On 9 June, a record high number of protesters marched in the streets against the extradition bill and called for Lam to step down; with protest organizers estimating over 1.03 million people attended the protest. At 11pm, the government issued a press statement, that it "acknowledge[s] and respect[s] that people have different views on a wide range of issues", but insisted the second reading debate on the bill would resume on 12 June. Following violent clashes on June 10, Lam spoke the following morning, admitting that the size of the rally showed there were "clearly still concerns" but refused to withdraw the bill. She refused to be drawn in to questions of whether she would fulfil her promise of resigning "if mainstream opinion makes me no longer able to continue the job" in her 2017 Chief Executive election campaign, only saying that it was important to have a stable governing team "at a time when our economy is going to undergo some very severe challenges because of external uncertainties."
June 12 clashes and backdown
On 12 June, the protest outside the government headquarters later descended into violent clashes with the police. Amid the clashes, Lam appeared in a TVB interview where she was in tears when asked if she betrayed Hong Kong, replying "I grew up with all Hong Kong people and my love for this place has prompted me to make many personal sacrifices." Instead of selling out Hong Kong, she said her husband had told her that after she became Chief Executive she had "sold herself to Hong Kong". She said she had done nothing against her conscience and would not withdraw the bill. However within three hours, Lam released another video with a change of the tone, strongly reprimanding protesters for the "blatant, organised riot" and condemning it as "not an act of love for Hong Kong."
After the intense violent clashes, Carrie Lam finally backed down and announced a pause in the passage of the extradition bill on 15 June. She said that the Security Bureau would suspend the second reading of the bill and would not set a time frame on seeking public views. However, she evaded the question on whether she would step down and refused to apologise.
On 16 June, nearly two million protesters, as claimed by the organisers, flooded the streets demanding a full withdrawal of the bill. Hong Kong police estimated the turnout to be 338,000 at its peak, but admitted that the actual number would be higher as only those along the original route were counted. The government issued a statement in the evening where Carrie Lam apologised to Hong Kong residents and promised to "sincerely and humbly accept all criticism and to improve and serve the public" and passage of the bill was suspended.
Amid the social upheaval, Lam saw her support in August 2019 fall to a record post-colonial low of 17 per cent, with those opposed hitting 76 per cent, according to a survey released by the highly regarded Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute, the successor of the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme. Satisfaction with the SAR government fell to 14 per cent, the lowest ever recorded in post-colonial times. Notwithstanding a 2017 pledge, she refused to resign, claiming the community needed her to "hold the fort".
In early September 2019, Reuters published a recording of a talk that Lam had given in late August 2019 to several businesspeople. Lam said that "for a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc to Hong Kong is unforgivable. It's just unforgivable. If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology, is to step down." Lam responded that the leak was "very inappropriate", and that she had "not even contemplated tendering resignation". 
In 1984, Carrie married Chinese mathematician Lam Siu-por, whom she met while studying at Cambridge. Lam Siu-por obtained his PhD in algebraic topology in 1983, under the supervision of Frank Adams.
Lam Siu-por used to teach at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and retired to England,[clarification needed] but has since taught[when?] some short courses at the Capital Normal University in Beijing. The couple have two sons, Jeremy and Joshua, who studied in England.
Their eldest son Jeremy joined Xiaomi, an electronics and software company in Beijing in April 2016. Her husband and both sons are British citizens, while Carrie herself renounced her British citizenship to take up the principal official post in the Hong Kong SAR government in 2007.
In recognition of her career achievements and contributions to the community, Lam was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star and the Grand Bauhinia Medal in 2010 and 2016. In 2013 she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Social Sciences by Lingnan University and was made an Officier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government in 2015.
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- "Carrie Lam opts for 'we connect' as campaign slogan, promising to break stalemate, overcome division in Hong Kong society". South China Morning Post. 3 February 2017.
- "State leader Zhang Dejiang meets Hong Kong politicians and business leaders in Shenzhen". South China Morning Post. 6 February 2017.
- "【特首跑馬仔】張德江南下深圳傳話 消息人士：張稱林鄭是中央唯一支持的特首人選 (11:05)". Ming Pao. 6 February 2017.
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Chief executive-elect Carrie Lam received her appointment order from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday morning to serve as Hong Kong’s next leader, beginning July 1.
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- "'Gov't twisted my words': Lau Siu-lai leads democrats in protest against her election ban". Hong Kong Free Press. 13 October 2018.
- "No plan to unseat Eddie Chu from Legco, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says of lawmaker barred from rural election over independence views". South China Morning Post. 4 December 2018.
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- "Former Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung cleared of any wrongdoing over HK$50 million UGL payment after four-year ICAC probe". South China Morning Post. 12 December 2018.
- "Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam defends Justice Secretary's decision not to seek external advice in CY Leung case". South China Morning Post. 28 December 2018.
- "Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam admits welfare failings after uproar over elderly CSSA changes and cash handout applications". South China Morning Post. 29 January 2019.
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- "Another U-turn on welfare as HK$200 penalty for elderly Hongkongers not seeking work put on hold". South China Morning Post. 28 January 2019.
- "Dropping cross-harbour tunnel toll plan for second time 'does not weaken Hong Kong government', says leader Carrie Lam". South China Morning Post. 26 March 2019.
- "LCQ3: Proposed amendments to Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance". Government Information Services. 27 March 2019.
- "Extradition bill not made to measure for mainland China and won't be abandoned, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says". South China Morning Post. 1 April 2019.
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- Siu-Por Lam at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
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- Media related to Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor at Wikimedia Commons
- Quotations related to Carrie Lam at Wikiquote
| Director of Social Welfare
| Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands (Planning and Lands)
| Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London
| Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs
as Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
| Secretary for Development
as Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands
| Chief Secretary for Administration
| Chief Executive of Hong Kong
| President of Executive Council|
|Order of precedence|
|First|| Hong Kong order of precedence
Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal