"First of all, I take comfort that given the Letter of No Objection issued by the Police, and co-operation by all sectors, we have seen a relatively calm and peaceful protest on Sunday. This reflects the freedoms that Hong Kong people are enjoying and I hope that this phenomenon will also go abroad to show that Hong Kong is upholding all the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people", Lam said at a media session before the Executive Council meeting.
The chief executive added that while certain demands of the protesters could be met — such as the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill — others went against legal principles and thus could not be accepted.
"If a particular demand requires us to deviate from the law, not to uphold the rule of law in Hong Kong or to do things actually beyond the powers of the Chief Executive, I could not agree to accept those demands simply for the purpose of meeting people’s aspirations because there will be other people who have the aspirations that the Hong Kong SAR [Special Administrative Region] Government should uphold the rule of law and should stay impartial and just in dealing with all sorts of demands put up by the people", Lam stated.
The Hong Kong chief executive added that she would travel to Beijing on 14 December "to give a full account of" the situation in the Hong Kong SAR and the policy measures that the regional authorities plan to take.
As many as 800,000 people participated in pro-democracy demonstrations on 8 December, which was one of the biggest displays of public protest in Hong Kong in weeks. The day also marked six months since the protest movement began in June and came two weeks after local council elections resulted in more than half of the 452 districts flipping to opposition candidates, indicating increased public concern about the lack of political autonomy.
What started as calm demonstrations over a controversial extradition bill in the early days of June took a violent turn in the weeks that followed, resulting in non-stop protests coupled with clashes between protesters and police. The unpopular legislation was eventually withdrawn in October, but the public is now demanding that the police be held accountable for their excessive use of force against protesters.
Beijing views the situation in Hong Kong as the result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and expresses full support for the local authorities' actions.