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Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at a press conference in Hong Kong. Image Credit: AP

Hailing from a regular working class family and one of five children, Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, was born in Hong Kong and educated at the University of Hong Kong. After graduating from university, she became a civil servant in British-ruled Hong Kong, continuing even after the 1997 handover.

Rising through the ranks, Lam’s tenure in the government has been peppered with a myriad of demonstrations, most notably the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution”.

The protest saw students rally against the newly introduced and highly controversial electoral reform bill that would essentially allow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to pre-screen candidates running for the Chief Executive position. Lam was, at the time of the protest, the Chief Secretary of Administration, the second highest position in Hong Kong.

While in talks with five student leaders, all of whom demanded a reconsideration to the bill and universal suffrage, Lam was reported to have said, “As far as their position is concerned I’m afraid we can only agree to disagree.” while rejecting the demands.

Carrie Lam’s reputation as an unapologetic and stubborn leader is infamous among both officials and protesters alike, known to ensure that she gets her way.

This reputation is also exactly why the public apology she made to the protesters demanding the extradition bill be taken down and her subsequent suspension of the bill is an uncharacteristic act that is hailed as a victory to protesters.