Hong Kong: Lam Announces Formal Withdrawal of Extradition Bill

  • The full withdrawal of the bill is one of the main demands of the protesters and activists.
  • Lam, who communicated her decision in a prerecorded televised message, did not agree to other demands of the protesters.
  • Many of the region’s opposition leaders consider Lam’s announcements to be insufficient.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced the “formal” withdrawal of the extradition bill that has caused months of massive protests in the autonomous region of China. “The government will formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns,” she read from a statement.

The full withdrawal of the bill is one of the main demands of the protesters and activists who have been filling the streets of Hong Kong for three consecutive months now with massive protests.

Elections in Hong Kong take place when certain political offices in the government need to be filled. Every four years, half of the unicameral Legislative Council of Hong Kong’s seventy seats representing the geographical constituencies are returned by the electorate; the other thirty five seats representing the functional constituencies are elected through smaller closed elections within business sectors.

Lam, who communicated her decision in a prerecorded televised message, did not agree to other demands of the protesters, such as an independent investigation into the police’s alleged brutality against the protesters. Violence between law enforcement and the activists grew in recent weeks, to the point where the police were forced to fire gunshots into the air to scare away the determined and daring protestors.

The activists also demanded the withdrawal of charges against those arrested in the protests, the withdrawal of the charge of “revolt” on the demonstrations, and the application of universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Lam said she would push for more measures to “start dialogue” with the protesters and the various parties that support them. “I recognize that these measures may not be able to address all the complaints of people in society,” she said. “However, should we all think deeply whether escalating violence and disturbances is the answer? Or whether it is better to sit down to find a way out through dialogue.”

In addition, the Hong Kong leader announced the creation of an independent committee to review “the most entrenched problems of society,” because the protests have since made it clear that “discontent extends far beyond the bill,” and “covers political, economic and social issues.”

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE

However, many of the region’s opposition leaders consider Lam’s announcements to be insufficient. The secretary-general of the pro-democratic organization Demosisto, Joshua Wong, expressed his discontent in several Twitter messages. “Too little and too late now — Carrie Lam’s response comes after 7 lives sacrificed, more than 1,200 protestors arrested, in which many are mistreated in police station. Their continued failure to understand the situation makes their announcement misplaced. You need to accept our five demands,” said Wong.

Demosistō is a pro-democracy organisation advocating self-determination for Hong Kong initially established on April 10, 2016 as a political party. Demosistō advocates a referendum to determine Hong Kong’s sovereignty with the goal of obtaining autonomy after 2047, when One Country, Two Systems is due to expire.

Three months of protests

The protests began in opposition to the controversial Hong Kong extradition bill. The massive protests that have rocked Hong Kong for three consecutive months have now become the main internal political challenge for Chinese President Xi Jinping since taking office in 2012.

Recently, the Chinese Government accused protesters of pushing for Hong Kong’s independence and “causing instability” in the region. In addition, China has repeatedly threatened to intervene with the army to suppress the protests.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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