Hong Kong leader withdraws extradition bill

  • The Hong Kong government will fully withdraw the extradition bill in a bid to end the months-long pro-democracy protests that paved way for cases of police violence and other issues.
  • Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the withdrawal will “fully allay public concerns.”
  • Protesters and civil society groups, however, noted that this move is not sufficient until their other demands are met.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced Wednesday that she has fully withdrawn the controversial bill allowing extradition to Mainland China.

The bill had been the main source of protests by millions of people from pro-democracy movements in the past three months, claiming that it would allow for “legalized kidnapping” and risk Hong Kong’s sovereignty.

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Photo from Anthony Wallace/AFP

In a recorded video statement, Lam said that the government will formally withdraw the bill “to fully allay public concerns.”

Lam had conceded, claiming that the protests had “shocked and saddened the Hong Kong people” and had pushed the financial hub “towards a highly dangerous situation.”

“No matter what discontentment the people have towards the government or the society, violence is not the way to resolve problems,” she added.

“Let’s replace conflict with conversations and let’s look for solutions,” Lam said.

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Photo from CNN

The Chief Executive had suspended the bill in June after millions of people took the issue to the streets, but protesters demanded for its full withdrawal which would mean that the measure would be brought back to the first step of its legislative process.

Al Jazeera reported, however, that despite the “breakthrough” in the crisis, Lam’s move was “not sufficient” for the protesters.

“If it really is withdrawn, protesters can celebrate for just a bit but not long,” civil rights activist Bonnie Leung told Al Jazeera.

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Photo from Financial Times/AP

Activist Joshua Wong also previously said on Twitter that apart from the withdrawal of the bill, Lam should listen to the other four demands of the people. 

These demands are: withdrawal of the characterization of protesters as “rioters”, independent probe on police brutality, the release of those who were arrested during protests, and the implementation of universal suffrage.

“This campaign is already beyond the extradition bill – we see police brutality every single day and these police officers who obviously broke the law and were caught on camera have no legal consequences at all, they are not facing any trial, so it is important for Hong Kong people to have an independent inquiry to investigate everything,” civil rights activist Bonnie Leung added.

Sources: Aljazeera, BBC, CNN

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