HONG KONG -- Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday admitted that her administration's handling of anti-government demonstrations contributed to the pro-democracy camp's landslide victory in local elections over the weekend, but showed no intention of bowing to the protesters' major demands.
Lam said Beijing has not asked her to take responsibility for the District Council election results. She said she was relieved to see the city return to relative quiet over the past week, after a spate of serious violence, and urged people on all sides to maintain calm.
"I do confess this particular District Council election has more political dimensions to it," Lam said during her weekly media briefing. She said she is aware that many voters came out "to express a view on many issues in society, including the deficiencies in governance, unhappiness with the time taken to deal with the current unstable environment, and of course violence."
Sunday's polls saw the highest turnout ever, with nearly 3 million people, or 71.2% of registered voters, casting ballots. The pro-democracy camp reaped big gains, claiming more than 80% of the total 452 seats up for grabs, while the pro-Beijing camp saw its seat total drop to 59 from more than 300.
When asked if she is prepared to take further action in responding to protesters' demands, which include setting up an independent inquiry on police brutality, Lam repeated that the existing police complaints body under the government is sufficient.
She also reiterated that the extradition bill that originally triggered the protests was withdrawn two months ago.
Instead, she said the government will "listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect." Lam indicated that she is willing to resume dialogue with the public on various matters if the violence stops.
Lam said the government plans to set up a review committee, a similar one to the U.K. government's committee set up after series of riots in 2011 to identify the causes and the consequences of the social unrest.
"Everybody wants to go back to their normal life. This requires efforts from every one of us," she said. "Please help us maintain the relative calm and peace that we have seen the last week or so, and provide a good basis for Hong Kong to move forward."