Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday said she would not rule out accepting Chinese government help to tackle pro-democracy protestors if the “situation becomes so bad”, AFP reported.

Speaking at a weekly news conference, Lam said the government had no plans at present to use colonial-era emergency powers to introduce more new laws. This came after a weekend of violent protests against the leader’s decision to ban face masks.

“At this point in time, I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves,” she said. “It is also the position of the central government [in Beijing] that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on her own.”

“But if the situation becomes so bad, then no options can be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance,” Lam added.

The leader stressed that she was “very committed” to using political, legal and policy instruments, including dialogue, to address the “deep-seated problems” in the city.

On Friday, Lam had invoked emergency powers for the first time in more than 50 years to outlaw face masks. Protestors have used the mask to protect their identities during demonstrations, and tens of thousands took to the streets wearing masks in defiance.

Lam said it was “too early” to decide whether the anti-mask law was effective or not. “I’m sure you’ll agree that for any new policy or new legislation, it will take time to be effectively implemented,” she said.

Protestors have accused China of tightening its grip on the region and throttling democracy. The demonstrations had started as opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill and has grown into a pro-democracy movement.

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