Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's Chief Executive, has called herself an administrator who does not understand politics, it was reported on Friday. She also said that she could not have anticipated the 2019 uproar over that extradition bill that has now been shelved.

During a conversation with Phoenix Satellite Television, Lam said, "I really did not expect it, because I don't consider myself to be a person who understands politics very well, I am an administrator."

A Controversial Bill

The bill was sparked by the case of Chan Tong-kai, a Hongkonger who was wanted in Taiwan on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend in Taipei in February 2018, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper. Since there was no extradition agreement between the two places, Hong Kong could not send Chan back to Taiwan.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam IANS

The case was cited as a major reason for pushing forward legislation that would have allowed suspects to be sent to jurisdictions Hong Kong lacked an extradition agreement with, including mainland China. It was eventually shelved in September 2019, but the protests against it evolved into months of social unrest, and violent clashes between radicals and police.

Lam was asked if she ever expected Hong Kong politics to be so complex in her role as Chief Executive. "But as of now, Hong Kong needs to have good governance, which is inseparable from politics," added Lam.

Responsibility of Upholding the System

Lam also said that it was her duty to uphold the "one country, two systems" principle under which Hong Kong is governed, and added her family trusted her 100 percent because "they know what I'm doing is right". Since Beijing imposed its national security law on Hong Kong on June 30, international pressure has mounted on Lam.

But while critics have said that the controversial law, which is aimed at punishing acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security, could be used to suppress dissent and undermine freedoms in the city, Lam has insisted the new law had restored calm. "It brought back the Hong Kong we were once familiar with," she was quoted as saying in the interview by the SCMP newspaper.

(With inputs from agencies)