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

Lynn scores two as Caps strike first

Cowichan scores four in the third to dump Powell River 6-3

Shawnigan Hills parkrun report for Feb. 22

New record of 38 participants

Homelessness and affordability raised as major concerns in CVRD survey

But most CVRD residents content with quality of life

Arts and Entertainment column: From opera to jazz to burlesque, it’s all coming up in Cowichan

On the big screen at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, classic Porgy and Bess.

Second fire in as many weeks at Chemainus Secondary

UPDATE**2:10 p.m. students are being dismissed from school. “For those that take… Continue reading

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read