arrie Lam, the most senior politician on the tormented archipelago of Hong Kong, is a woman of many nicknames. “Babysitter”, “tough fighter”, “777” are all sobriquets that have been attached to Lam in her long career in public life on the former British colony.
But the one that she really objects to is “puppet”. When Lam was elevated to the post of the territory’s “chief executive” in 2017 she was the candidate who enjoyed the backing of the Communist authorities in mainland China.
Since the 1997 handover to China the Beijing-favoured candidate has invariably won the suffocatingly restricted contests that Hong Kong calls elections. But while Lam was content to benefit from the support of Beijing she also wanted to be known as her own woman.