Hong Kong pulls extradition bill that triggered massive protests

But Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s announcement was not enough for activists

Protesters wear helmet and googles during a pro-democracy rally in Tamar Park, Hong Kong, on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced Wednesday the withdrawal of an extradition bill that sparked months of demonstrations, bowing to one of the protesters’ demands in the hope of ending the increasingly violent unrest.

But activists rejected the decision as insufficient and vowed not to yield until the government accepts other demands including an independent investigation into alleged police brutality against protesters, the unconditional release of those detained and greater democracy.

The bill would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trials. It has prompted massive protests since June that disrupted transport links and caused the airport to shut down earlier this month.

Lam said the government would not accept other demands, and instead named two new members to a police watchdog agency investigating police misconduct.

“The government will formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns,” she said in a recorded television message.

Lam said the persistent violence is damaging the rule of law and that challenges to the “one country, two systems” framework under which the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997 had put Hong Kong in a “highly vulnerable and dangerous situation.”

“Our foremost priority now is to end violence, to safeguard the rule of law and to restore order and safety in society,” she added, vowing to “strictly enforce the law against all violent and illegal acts.”

Lam said it was clear that public frustration has gone far beyond the bill and that her government will seek a dialogue with aggrieved groups to address their discontent. She said she will also invite community leaders, professionals and academics to examine and advise the government on how to resolve deep-seated problems in the society.

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

Some lawmakers and activists said the move was too little, too late.

READ MORE: Duelling protests hit Vancouver’s streets as Hong Kong, China tensions continue

A youth activist who identified herself only as Chan and wore a helmet and scarf to shield her identity told a news conference that protesters “would not back down, not even one step” until their other demands are met.

Lam, who was elected as Hong Kong’s chief executive by a pro-Beijing committee of Hong Kong elites, has come under withering criticism for pushing the extradition bill. Many in Hong Kong see it as an example of the city’s eroding autonomy since the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.

Clashes between police and protesters have become increasingly violent, with demonstrators throwing gasoline bombs and rods at officers in protests last weekend. Authorities in turn have employed water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and batons.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam makes an announcement on a TV broadcast in Hong Kong, on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Protesters gather during a pro-democracy rally in Tamar Park, Hong Kong, on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Just Posted

Lacombe Community Refugee Effort hopes to reunite more of the Al Omar family

Bashar Al Omar’s brother is currently living in Lebanon

Town of Blackfalds looking for input to reduce environmental impact

Infrastructure services asks for input on how the strategy will address environmental concerns

Ryon Holmedal brings Tethers to the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre

Tethers is multidisciplinary musical experience

Town of Blackfalds taking next step towards a new brand

Mayor Richard Poole wants everyone in the community to help shape the future direction of Blackfalds

WATCH: Night Among the Stars Celebrity Dance-off supports Lacombe BBBS

Over $12,000 raised for Dancer’s Edge Parents Association and Lacombe BBBS

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home

Those who were cleared to travel are to be screened again at Canadian Forces Base Trenton

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Portrait of the Coastal GasLink, a pipeline to divide a nation

In mid-February, 46 per cent of the pipeline route had been cleared

Alberta ends master agreement with doctors, new rules to be in place April 1

The current master agreement with physicians ends March 31

Alberta rail conductor fired for social media posts awarded money, but not reinstatement

Arbitrator Richard Hornung says that he agreed with the Teamsters union

Most Read