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

 

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

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

Antimatter 2019: The best in experimental media art comes to Victoria

22nd annual festival of film, performance art and more biggest ever – 120 artists, 30 countries

Sea Cadets host a garage sale for Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground

Proceeds from a garage sale going to the Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground.

Nurse comes home to ‘dream job’ at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Jane Fox is the first Aboriginal liaison nurse at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Most Read