Hong Kong extradition bill is ‘dead’, says Carrie Lam
Chief executive falls short of withdrawing the bill completely
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says the controversial bill that would have allowed extradition to the Chinese mainland is “dead”.
“What I said today is not very different from before, but maybe people want to hear a very firm response … the bill has actually died,” the chief executive of the city-state said in a statement. “So people won’t need to worry that there will be renewed discussions on the bill in the current legislature.”
The statement came after weeks of unrest in the city, in which millions of residents took to the streets to demonstrate against the bill that would allow the extradition of individuals to mainland China.
Some of the protests involved violent clashes with police. On 1 July, hundreds of activists stormed the city's legislature, vandalizing and occupying it for several hours before retreating in the face of a police clearance.
Lam added that she felt “heartbroken” over the conflict caused by the proposed law, which she described as a “total failure”. However, she stopped short of saying it had been withdrawn completely.
“We suspended it and we have no time table, we reiterate that when the current legislature ends, i.e. July next year, it will be automatically expired,” she said.
Political opponents have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the status of the legislation. “The bill is dead is a political description and it is not legislative language,” Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung told the BBC.
“We have no idea why the chief executive refuses to adopt the word withdraw,” he added.
Lokman Tsui, who teaches journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, wrote on Twitter: “If it’s dead for all purposes, then why not just say the words and officially withdraw it? Carrie is just playing a PR game at this point.”
Yesterday, Hong Kong activist and pop star Denise Ho clashed with a Chinese representative to the UN as she urged the international community to stand up for Hong Kong's democratic rights. CNN reports that China's delegation interrupted Ho's speech twice by raising procedural motions.