"I'd rather stay on and walk this path together with my team and the people of Hong Kong", she added.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: We, students of Hong Kong, hereby solemnly swear that we will spare no endeavor in the pursuit of happiness, safety and core values of Hong Kong.
Comments on the Reuters story appeared to be censored on mainland Chinese social media, although state media covered Lam's news conference.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Monday the protests had "gone beyond the scope of freedom of assembly and demonstration". This draconian colonial-era legislation allows the chief executive to "make any regulations whatsoever which he may consider desirable in the public interest".
Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong's biggest carrier, faced heavy pushback from China after its staff joined the demonstrations, while HSBC Holdings Plc to PwC, have been the subject of online speculation over their positions on the protests, which have rocked the former British colony for nearly three months.
Protesters gathered after dusk fell next to the Hong Kong headquarters of the People's Liberation Army, shining dozens of green lasers at a barracks building.
"I'll be very honest with you, it would be naive for me to paint you a rosy picture, that things will be fine or I have a deadline".
Beijing outlined steps it could take to curb the protests that escalated over the weekend when protesters blocked routes leading to the global airport, students skipped the first day of school to demonstrate and workers went on strike, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The police, she said, would continue to arrest those responsible for "this escalating violence", a group that the government initially estimated numbered between 1,000 and 2,000.
The room, the political room for the chief executive who, unfortunately, has to serve two masters by constitution, that is the central people's government and the people of Hong Kong, that political room for maneuvering is very, very, very limited. "Maybe they don't care about Hong Kong, but they care about 'one country, two systems.' They care about the country's global profile".
The disruptions capped off a weekend featuring some of the worst violence in three months of anti-government protests.
One can draw comparisons with Lam, who acts as Beijing's proxy in Hong Kong but whose family members hold British citizenship, who herself was a former British citizen, and who is periodically accused of not actually having given up her British citizenship.
More than one million people linked hands - across Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - to form a human chain spanning over 600 kilometres (370 miles).
Lam also suggested that Beijing had not yet reached a turning point. The formula promised greater civil rights in Hong Kong than those afforded to mainland Chinese, but Hong Kong residents have expressed worries those promises are eroding.
"If the situation in Hong Kong continues to worsen and it becomes turmoil that can not be controlled by the SAR government and endangers the country's sovereignty and security, the central government will not sit idly by".
Tens of thousands of students, clad in gas masks and hard helmets along with their formal school uniforms, boycotted the first day of classes Monday as part of a citywide strike.
"So our common goal is to stop this violence, so that society can soon return to peace", she said, promising to work towards more dialogue with protesters. Workers also participated in their own rally at a public park, braving strong winds and storm clouds as a typhoon threatened.
Several editorials in Chinese state media on Monday condemned the protesters as "crazy and vicious" for bringing "catastrophe" upon the Hong Kong economy.