Speculation about the reason for the delay in Hong Kong’s chief executive’s visit to Beijing

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Is expected to postpone her work visit to Beijing until the novel Coronavirus pneumonia outbreak is brought under control, Hong Kong media reported. If Mrs Lam’s trip to Beijing is postponed until next year, it would be the first time since the handover of sovereignty in 1997 that a chief executive has failed to report to Beijing’s leaders in December.

Since taking office in 2017, Lam has traveled to Beijing every year before December 16 to meet with Communist Party President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other top officials to report on the latest economic, political and social developments in Hong Kong, the report said. This year, however, the government has yet to announce the schedule.

In recent years, the South China Morning Post quoted a source as saying that as the number of novel Coronavirus pneumonia confirmed in Hong Kong recently maintained double-digit growth every day, Lam needed to adjust her schedule in Beijing.

Hong Kong is now facing the fourth wave of the epidemic, with 95 new cases reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 7,541, the report said. Forty-one of the new cases went undetected, the most since the fourth wave.

Novel Coronavirus pneumonia in Hong Kong has killed 117 people. A 42-year-old woman believed to be in good health died Saturday night after contracting a Coronavirus, making her one of the youngest people in Hong Kong to die from pneumonia caused by a coronavirus.

Hong Kong 01, an online media outlet, reported that Carrie Lam, the chief executive since taking office, has been going to Beijing in mid-December to report on her duties as usual. Even after the social unrest against fugitive offenders and the establishment’s defeat in the district Council elections in 2019, the arrangement has not changed.

According to the report, government sources said that Mrs Lam had cleared the schedule for her trip to Beijing on December 11 and 16, but suddenly received a notice from the central government on December 10, temporarily suspending the schedule.

According to the report, the postponement has led to speculation, including that the leaders’ schedules are too full to meet the CHIEF executive, and that they have decided to postpone the meeting because of the severe outbreak in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong 01 said it consulted the chief Executive’s office on Monday and was told that “information on the debriefing arrangement for the chief Executive will be made public when available”.

Mrs Lam visited Beijing in November to meet vice-Premier Han Zheng, who is in charge of Hong Kong and Macao affairs, and other ministers to discuss various measures aimed at the territory’s economy. After returning to Hong Kong, Mrs Lam delivered her annual Policy Address at the end of November.