Hong Kong leader Lam says China extradition bill ‘dead’
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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the extradition bill that sparked the territory's biggest political crisis in decades was dead. However, there are concerns that the legislation is not being fully withdrawn.
But Lam's attempt to restore order in the Asian financial hub and cling to her job did not satisfy many protesters, who charged her with playing word games about the bill and that its status remains unclear.
The Civil Rights Forum, a key protest group, said their demands were "still not heard by Carrie Lam and her government" and vowed to continue the protests.
The bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trial, sparked huge and at times violent street protests and plunged the former British colony into turmoil.it
Calls for Lam to resign
In mid-June, Lam responded to huge protests by suspending the bill, but on Tuesday she said "there are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the legislative council".
"So, I reiterate here, there is no such plan, the bill is dead," she told a news conference, admitting that the government’s work on the bill had been a “total failure”.
Lam's declaration appeared to be a win for opponents of the bill, but it was not immediately clear if it would be enough to satisfy them.
Demonstrators have also called for Lam to resign, for an independent investigation into police actions against protesters, and for the government to abandon the description of a violent protest on June 12 as a riot.
🇭🇰 Tens of thousands of protesters marched through one of #HongKong’s most touristy areas on Sunday, trying to gain support from mainland Chinese visitors 🇨🇳.FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) July 8, 2019
It is the latest round of protests against an extradition bill that has caused political turmoil. pic.twitter.com/Cduj5VFxTF
Hong Kong was returned to China from Britain in 1997 with the promise of a high degree of autonomy, but in recent years there has been growing concern about the erosion of those freedoms at the hands of Beijing.
Biggest crisis since China regained control on Hong Kong
The crisis over the extradition bill has been the biggest challenge Beijing has faced to its rule in the territory in the 22 years since it re-gained control over Hong Kong.
It has also drawn international attention, much to China’s chagrin, with key global political leaders, such as House Leader and US Democrat Nancy Pelosi [tweet below], vocalising their support for the protestors
For weeks, the people of Hong Kong have inspired the world as they stand up in protest against the reprehensible extradition bill. Neither the G-20 nor the world should ignore their courage as we mark 22 years since the start of China's so-called "One Country, Two Systems."Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 1, 2019
The planned bill triggered outrage across broad sections of Hong Kong society amid concerns it would threaten the much-cherished rule of law that underpins the city’s international financial status.
Lam's appearance on Tuesday was her first since a rare pre-dawn news conference a week ago after protesters besieged and ransacked the legislative building in the heart of the city.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems" formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest and an independent judiciary.
Lawyers and rights groups say China's justice system is marked by torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detention, claims that Beijing denies.
Hong Kong's embattled pro-Beijing leader announces a widely loathed China extradition law that has sparked unprecedented political unrest "is dead" -- but stops short of demands to immediately withdraw the bill https://t.co/pVCCEaWlCX pic.twitter.com/BohFRzbGPeAFP news agency (@AFP) July 9, 2019
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP and AFP)
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