The determined defiance from Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other senior officials sanctioned by the US government was but expected, with the China-US relationship at its lowest ebb. Lam even took it a step further to declare she would give up her US visa which was due to expire in 2026.
How the visa will be technically voided on her initiative remains to be seen, but it is most likely to see Lam become the only Hong Kong leader so far who has not yet visited, or will not visit, the US in the foreseeable future since the city’s 1997 return to Chinese sovereignty. That is a telling reality.
She tried a different style from her predecessors, particularly her former boss Leung Chung-ying, who during his 2012-2017 term appeared to shift towards his well-known “internal diplomacy” approach, advocating further Hong Kong-mainland integration. Lam went all out to show she was a different type of leader after winning the top job three years ago, reaching out not just across the border but also internationally.