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China's Xi Jinping backs Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Carrie Lam

Shanghai, Nov 5 (UITV/IANS)- Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his support for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who has been harshly criticized by the pro-democracy protesters that have been taking to the streets of the city over the last few months.

Xi met with Lam on Monday in Shanghai, where they had come to attend the second China International Import Expo.

Xi listened to Lam's report on the situation in Hong Kong and said that the latter "has led her government to fully discharge its duties, strive to stabilize the situation and improve the social atmosphere, and has done a lot of hard work", Xinhua news agency reported/

The President voiced the central government's high degree of trust in Lam and full acknowledgement of the work of her and her governance team.

"Ending violence and chaos and restoring order remain the most important task for Hong Kong at present," he noted.

Xi also expressed his hope that people in Hong Kong would "fully and faithfully implement the principle of 'one country, two systems' and the Hong Kong's Basic Law, and make concerted efforts to safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability".

Over the last five months of protests there have been several rumours about Lam's exit as chief executive, following criticism from several sections of society, including pro-democracy demonstrators, who have been demanding her resignation for weeks, Efe news reported.

Another demand of the protesters was for lesser intervention by Beijing into the affairs of the semi-autonomous region.

After attending the expo in Shanghai, Lam was scheduled to travel to Beijing on Wednesday to meet Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Han Zheng, who is in charge of the affairs of the former British colony.

The Hong Kong protests, which have been drawing massive crowds since June following a contentious proposed extradition law, have mutated into a movement that seeks to improve the democratic mechanisms that govern the city and safeguard the region's partial autonomy from Beijing.

However, some demonstrators have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful civil disobedience and violent clashes with the police have been frequent.