- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam told a Tuesday news conference she would not rule out a Chinese military intervention in the city if pro-democracy demonstrations continue to spiral.
- Lam said the move would be constitutional, but did not reveal under which circumstances she would call for an intervention.
- "If the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out," she told reporters.
- The protests have been ongoing for more than 17 weeks and have become increasingly violent.
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Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that she would not rule out a Chinese military intervention if pro-democracy demonstrations continue to spiral.
She told a weekly press conference in the semi-autonomous city that while she would rather Hong Kongers resolve the crisis themselves, if the uprising "becomes so bad" there is a possibility that Beijing steps in.
"I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves. That is also the position of the central government, that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on her own," she said, referring to the Chinese government in Beijing.
"But if the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance," she said.
Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images
Lam noted that a Chinese military intervention is in accordance to Hong Kong's constitution, known as the Basic Law, but said she "cannot reveal" the circumstances of when she would enforce such an intervention.
The Hong Kong democracy protests have been ongoing for more than 17 weeks and show no signs of abating.
The demonstrations have also become increasingly violent, with police routinely firing tear gas and protesters hurling Molotov cocktails and bricks. Police used live ammunition on protesters for the first time last Monday.
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This year's demonstrations began in June to fight against an extradition bill that would allow the Chinese government extract people from Hong Kong to stand trial in the mainland.
The protests have ignited in Hong Kongers a deep rooted fear of Chinese encroachment in the city.