Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was due to meet 150 members of the public on Thursday night as part of a city-wide consultation to resolve months of massive anti-government protests.
The meeting was set to take place at a stadium on Hong Kong Island not far from government headquarters, with attendees randomly chosen from a pool of applicants.
The South China Morning Post reported that nearby shops and schools planned to close early in anticipation of a possible protest against the unpopular leader.
In an op-ed published by the New York Times on Thursday, Lam said the meeting would see the airing of the “the public’s grievances and identify the issues this society faces,” which would then be “studied and translated into concrete actions” by the government.
Lam also argued that Hong Kong had the resilience to move beyond the political discord and “deep wounds” that have come with 17 straight weeks of protest.
“Hong Kong has faced — and overcome — momentous challenges every decade since the end of World War II,” Lam wrote. This should tell us something about the people of Hong Kong: They are resilient and resourceful.”
She also said that Hong Kong was economically prepared to overcome the fallout from protests, which has seen tourism drop to levels not seen since the outbreak of SARS in 2003.
Protests, which have deeply divided much of Hong Kong, began in early June over a now-withdrawn legislative bill that would have allowed for criminal extradition to China. (NAN)