Carrie Lam: Hong Kong leader denies asking Beijing to let her resign

Tens of thousands in Hong Kong boycott first day of school

(CNN)Hong Kong's beleaguered leader Carrie Lam has said she would quit if she had a choice and blamed herself for causing "unforgivable havoc" that has led to months of anti-government protests in the city, according to a leaked audio recording obtained by Reuters. "I have never tendered resignation to the central people's government", she told the media.

In the audio recording, Ms Lam said that her ability to resolve the crisis was now "very, very limited" as she has to serve "two masters" and the issue had been elevated "to a national level", a reference to the leadership in Beijing.

The demonstrators, who have filled parks and streets regularly since early June, want democratic reforms to Hong Kong's government and an independent inquiry into police actions against protesters.

The protests have evolved into a wider democracy campaign involving clashes between protesters and police, in the biggest challenge to China's rule of Hong Kong since its 1997 handover from the British.

Some have expressed concerns about a possible Chinese military intervention similar to its crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

But the Chinese central government also warned it would "never sit idly by" if the situation spins out of control and endangers national sovereignty.

Xi said those struggles covered the economy, politics, culture, society, the environment, defense, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and diplomacy.

Protests created to block access to Hong Kong's worldwide airport caused trouble for travellers and led to one transit station being thoroughly trashed by masked youths with spray paint and steel rods.

Xu Luying, a spokeswoman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Workplace, additionally raised the opportunity of introducing patriotic schooling in Hong Kong faculties.

Comments on the Reuters story appeared to be censored on mainland Chinese social media, although state media covered Lam's news conference.

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"It (the New York Times) has presented a platform for anti-China forces and radical activists calling for "Hong Kong independence" to spread rumor and smear the Central and SAR governments, and spared no effort to package them as representatives of the majority", the spokesperson said, raising questions about the motives behind the newspaper. At other times, what revelations do emerge from these press conferences are highly enraging of the public, such as regarding the heavy use of tear gas by Hong Kong police, or due to the evasive answers by police spokespersons.

Lam was elected as Hong Kong's chief executive by a pro-Beijing committee of Hong Kong business and civic leaders. Meanwhile, her government has refused to accede to any other of the protesters' demands.

On Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry took an unusual step of distributing images of alleged protester vandalism to the worldwide press, in an apparent attempt to discredit the movement.

Many in the city fear Beijing has been eroding those freedoms.

The strike coincided with a boycott of the first day of classes by university and high school students.

The apparent rift between prosecutors and police is a sign of the strain felt by the Hong Kong authorities as they try to contain what Beijing has called a "color revolution".

Yesterday a recording of a private meeting where she is heard saying she would resign if she could was leaked.

"This has proven to be very unwise given the circumstances", Lam added.

In a nod to her police, Lam spoke about her frustration with not being able "to reduce the pressure on my frontline police officers", or to provide a political solution to "pacify the large number of peaceful protesters who are so angry with the government, with me in particular".

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