Lam was in charge during a volatile period where mass democracy protests resulted in greater Chinese control in Hong Kong, BBC reports.

On Monday she said she had told China last year about her intention not to seek a second term. The announcement came on reports Hong Kong’s second most senior official, Chief Secretary John Lee was due to resign to join the race to replace Lam next month as the new leader.

"There’s only one consideration and that is family. I have told everyone before that family is my first priority," Lam stated during a press briefing. "They think it’s time for me to go home."

Hong Kong’s leaders are chosen by a committee of 1,500 members, with the new chief executive to be selected in May.

The mass protests in 2019 led to China implementing several policies to "restore security" and tighten control over Hong Kong and its residents. One such policy was a national security law that criminalised most forms of political protest, lessening the city's autonomy. Lam said of the law it was not all "doom and gloom” and was "rather mild" compared to other national security laws. "Its scope is not as broad as that in other countries and even China," she added.

The leadership election was postponed from March to 8th May, to allow the government more time to tackle a Covid outbreak that has infected over a million people in Hong Kong, Reuters reports. Lam’s term of office comes to an end on 30th June. "I will complete my five year term as chief executive on the 30th of June this year, and I will also call an end to my 42 years of public service," Lam said.

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