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Hong Kong Chief Executive begins dialogue to ease tensions

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday she and her team will begin community dialogue sessions next week, while stressing the need to end the violence that has ravaged the city for more than three months.

Lam, who is under pressure from Beijing to defuse public anger sparking protests, said the dialogue sessions would be as open as possible as the general public could apply.

“Hong Kong society is suffering from the accumulation of profound economic, social and even political problems and I hope these various forms of dialogue will give us room for discussion,” she told reporters in a weekly briefing.

These issues include housing and land shortages in one of the world’s most populous cities with 7.4 million people. Young people are deeply frustrated by the high cost of finding a home.

“But I have to stress here that dialogue does not mean that we will not have to implement resolute measures. Stopping the violence we face remains a priority. ”

Tensions began to affect the economy of the city, the Asian financial center.

Moody’s downgraded Hong Kong’s credit rating from stable to negative on Monday, reflecting what it called an increase in fear of a “deteriorating institutional strength in Hong Kong”.

Lam expressed disappointment over Moody’s decision.

Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 in accordance with the “one country, two systems” formula, which guarantees freedoms not enjoyed by the mainland, including its independent judicial system.

The current protests have been triggered by a bill on extradition to China for trial. Although Lam met one of the main protesters’ demands for a complete withdrawal of the project on September 4, they see it too late.

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