Hong Kong extradition Bill suspended after protests

Police officers watch over protesters listening to a rally on a pedestrian bridge near the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong on June 15, 2019.
Police officers watch over protesters listening to a rally on a pedestrian bridge near the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong on June 15, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

HONG KONG • The Hong Kong government yesterday suspended indefinitely a proposed law that would have allowed extradition to China, in a huge climbdown triggered by massive protests that ended in violence and injuries last week.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at an hour-long press conference that the decision was made to restore calm and avoid further injuries.

The government can then "restart" its communication with all sectors of society, do more explanation and hear different views, she said, noting that her administration came to the decision after discussions over the last two days.

"We have no intention to set a deadline for this work and promise to report to and consult members of the Legislative Council panel on security before we decide on the next step forward," she added.

The sudden retreat has thrown into question Mrs Lam's ability to continue to lead the city.

Opposition lawmakers and activists said they were not satisfied with the concession and have called for more protests until the controversial Bill is completely scrapped.

The Civil Human Rights Front, organiser of the massive June 9 rally, blasted the decision, calling Mrs Lam's attitude towards the public outcry "arrogant, ignorant and indifferent".

In a media conference outside the city's legislature, it hit back at her, vowing to continue taking to the streets until the Bill is completely withdrawn. It has called for another rally today at Victoria Park.

 

"We have been lied to many times before when the government said they will postpone projects," said the Front's vice-convenor Bonnie Leung. "But after the social pressure has eased, they go on to do it anyway."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 16, 2019, with the headline 'HK extradition Bill suspended after protests'. Print Edition | Subscribe