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Matthew Brooker and Nisha Gopalan

Lam’s State of Union Exposes Hong Kong Divide

A menu of economic reforms leaves listeners hungry for lasting political solutions.

On remote.

On remote.

Photographer: PHILIP FONG/AFP/Getty Images

After four months of unprecedented unrest, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam sought in her signature annual speech to address the city's crisis with a package of almost exclusively economic measures. It's unlikely to work. Hong Kong's troubles are primarily political, and will require a political solution.

The sight of Hong Kong's leader delivering her annual policy address by video from a remote location — after being forced from the legislative chamber by protesting lawmakers — was a more telling comment on the state of the city than any proposal Lam put forward. It was emblematic of an increasingly isolated government and a furious opposition that continue to talk past each other.