Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has announced the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill that sparked months of protests, stating said that the bill would be withdrawn to “allay public concerns”.
“We must find ways to address the discontent in society and look for solutions. After more than two months of social unrest, it is obvious to many that this discontentment extends far beyond the bill,” she said in a televised appearance tonight.
Although suspended in June, Lam had initially refused to fully withdraw the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. The bill would have allowed for extradition to mainland China, which critics believe the Chinese government could use to intimidate critics and activists.
While the government has withdrawn the bill, they have not met the remainder of the protestor’s demands, which include the release of arrested protestors, the resignation of Lam, an independent inquiry into police brutality seen during the protests, and legal reform to make the election of Hong Kong’s chief executive and legislative council a vote open to the public.
Some activists have rejected the withdrawal as a significant development, pointing to the government’s failure to address the other demands:
5. In short, Carrie Lam’s repeated failure in understanding the situation has made this announcement completely out of touch – She needs to address to ALL Five Demands: STOP PROSECUTION, STOP CALLING US RIOTERS, INDEPENDENT INQUIRY OF POLICE and FREE ELECTION!
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) September 4, 2019