Carrie Lam Finally Withdrawing Extradition Bill After Months of Protests

Image: Los Angeles Times

Lest you’ve been living in a cannibalistic tribe off the coasts of Africa (and even then you can probably keep up with current affairs through the smartwatch of that arm you’re eating), you would surely have heard of Hong Kong’s upcoming extradition law, and how Hong Kong residents have been averse to it.

Really averse to it.

Image: Los Angeles Times

As it turns out, however, it seems that the Hong Kong government has finally caved in…

And Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has now announced that a proposal to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland…

Is now “dead”.

Carrie Lam Finally Withdrawing Extradition After Months of Protests

According to Channel News Asia, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam announced on Tuesday (9 July) that the proposed extradition law is now “dead”, though she stopped short of protestor demands to immediately retract the bill.

“There are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries (about) whether the government will restart the process with the Legislative Council. So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The Bill is dead,” she said.

Describing the work on the Bill as a “complete failure”, the chief executive urged people to give the government space to resolve the issue.

Lam had previously suspended the Bill but stopped short of scrapping it altogether. As such, she chose to use the word ‘dead’ rather than ‘withdraw’, as she didn’t think protestors would believe her had she used the latter.

“To some extent, if it was withdrawn today, it could be brought back to LegCo three months later,” she added.

“But maybe the residents want to hear a very resolute and decisive saying. So ‘the Bill is dead’ is a relatively resolute saying.”

Additionally, the chief executive also requested for protestors to express their dissent, via more ‘peaceful’ means.

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“We are sad to see these violent acts because they undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong,” the chief executive said.

“So I make a very sincere plea here, that in the future if anyone in Hong Kong have any different views – especially those about the Hong Kong government’s policies – please continue to uphold the value of expressing it in a peaceful and orderly manner.”

Calls for heads to roll

Apart from the withdrawal of the extradition law, demonstrators have also been active in requesting three things:

  • Lam’s resignation as Hong Kong’s chief executive
  • An independent investigation into police actions against protesters
  • For the government to forsake the description of a violent protest on 12 June as a riot

Lam, however, declines to take a step back in these aspects.

“It is not a simple thing for CE (chief executive) to step down, and I myself still have the passion and undertaking to service Hong Kong people,” she said when asked about the protesters’ demands.

“I hope that Hong Kong society can give me and my team the opportunity and room to allow us to use our new governance style to respond to people’s demand in the economy and in livelihood.”

She also stressed the independence of Hong Kong’s Department of Justice regarding prosecuting protesters.

“Any demand that we should grant amnesty at this stage, in other words, we will not follow up on investigations and prosecutions of offenders, is not acceptable,” said Lam.

“Because that bluntly goes against a rule of law in Hong Kong, and also deviates from the very important principle laid down in the Basic Law that no one should interfere with the Department of Justice prosecutorial decisions.”

You can watch the actual video down below:

Dissatisfaction

Despite Lam’s latest ‘retreat’, however, University students, who formed the bulk of protestors, dismissed Lam’s latest comments and demanded a full withdrawal of the Bill.

“What we want is to completely withdraw the Bill. She is playing word games,” said Chan Wai Lam William, General Officer of the Student Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

According to critics, the extradition law could pose a threat to Hong Kong’s rule of law, as well as its international reputation as an Asian financial hub.

Protestors have been particularly averse to news of the extradition, with violent demonstrations that have marred Hong Kong over the last month.

Just last Monday, thousands of protestors forced their way into the Legislative Council building and scrawled anti-government graffiti on its walls, hanging up a colonial-era flag in the process.

However, with Lam’s latest announcement in place, further demonstrations should tone down in terms of violence.

And with luck, Hong Kong will restore its former reputation soon enough…

As an internationally reputable Asian financial hub with really good roast meat.