Timeline: The Life and Career of Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam

HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced on Monday that she will step down in June after 42 years of government service, ending with a tumultuous five-year tenure as the city’s chief executive. Some highlights of Lam’s life and career:


May 13, 1957: Born Cheng Yuet-ngor in Hong Kong. She attends St. Francis’ Canossian School, an all-girls Catholic school, where she failed to finish at the top of her class only once, and later said she cried because of it.

1980: Graduated from Hong Kong University and joined the Hong Kong government as a civil servant. Throughout her career, she is known for a strong work ethic.

1982: Studied at the University of Cambridge, where she met her future husband, the mathematician Lam Siu-por.

1984: Married to Lam Siu-por.

July 1, 1997: Britain returns Hong Kong to China. Under the One China, Two Systems framework, Hong Kong will become a special administrative region with its own laws and system of government.

July 1, 2007: Appointed Secretary for Development. Renounces her British citizenship as required by Chinese rule for senior Hong Kong government officials.

1 July 2012: Appointed to the City’s 2nd post, Chief Secretary for Administration.

July 1, 2017: Sworn in as Hong Kong’s chief executive by Chinese President Xi Jinping after receiving 777 votes from a 1,194-member electoral committee in March.

Feb 2019: The Hong Kong government proposes changes to the city’s laws that would allow extraditions to mainland China on a case-by-case basis.

March 2019: Thousands take to the streets in Hong Kong to protest the extradition bill.

June 9, 2019: A massive protest against the law draws more than 1 million people, organizers estimate. Protests and political unrest rocked the city for more than six months.

Sept. 2019: Lam announces that her government will withdraw the extradition bill. The protests continue over other issues, becoming increasingly violent at times as demonstrators fight police in the streets.

June 2020: Beijing imposes a national security law on Hong Kong outlawing secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to interfere in the city’s affairs.

July 31, 2020: Lam invokes an emergency regulation to postpone Legislative Council elections by a year, citing public health risks from the pandemic. The opposition pro-democracy camp accuses her of using the pandemic to delay a vote she had hoped would win.

Aug 2020: The US imposes sanctions on Lam and other Chinese and Hong Kong officials “for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting Hong Kong citizens’ freedom of expression and association”. Lam later says she had to stockpile “cash piles” at home because she didn’t have access to banking services.

May 2021: China overhauls Hong Kong’s electoral laws, reducing the proportion of people directly elected to the legislature and ensuring only those loyal to Beijing are allowed to run for office.

Dec 2021: Turnout falls to 30% in belated Legislative Council elections, returning a heavily pro-Beijing majority after the pro-democracy camp runs no candidates.

Since January 2022: An omicron-related outbreak overwhelms the healthcare system, resulting in more than 8,000 deaths. The Lam government has been widely criticized for mishandling the outbreak.

April 4, 2022: Lam announces that she will retire after completing her five-year term on June 30.

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