Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam: Extradition bill is 'dead'

Hong Kong protest leaders opposed to the administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that they will continue their demonstrations, even after Lam declared the effort to amend a highly contentious extradition bill "dead".

She acknowledged "there are still lingering doubts as to the government's sincerity" over fully scrapping the bill and not resuming it at a later date.

The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history following a month of huge marches as well as separate violent confrontations with police involving a minority of hardcore protesters.

Joshua Wong, who led the Umbrella Protests that brought the city to a standstill in 2014, dismissed Lam's comments on the bill's status as a "ridiculous lie", noting that unless the bill was withdrawn it would remain in the government's legislative programme until July next year.

The protesters are also calling for direct election of Hong Kong's leader.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Lam, who came under intense criticism at home and overseas, had put off plans to pass the controversial legislation and apologised but the protests continued, calling for its complete withdrawal and her resignation.

Anti-extradition bill protesters march to the West Kowloon Express Rail Link Station at Hong Kong's tourism district Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday.

China has called the protests an "undisguised challenge" to the "one country, two systems" model under which Hong Kong has been ruled for 22 years since it was handed back to China.

But protesters were quick to pick up on Lam's use of language.

"So I make a very honest plea here in future if anyone in Hong Kong has any different views, especially those about Hong Kong government's policies, please continue to uphold the value of expressing it in a peaceful and orderly manner", she said. "Because right now, Carrie Lam, she only responds to the Chinese government", she said.

The controversial legislation would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to China to face trial.

The worldwide finance hub has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history following a month of marches and sporadic violent confrontations with police involving a minority of hardcore protesters. The police came under fire for the way they dealt with protestors while former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang backed the call for an inquiry into the clashes between security personnel and demonstrators, South China Morning Post reported. The measure fanned worries among the business community and the city's democracy advocates about the erosion of the "one country, two systems" framework set up before Hong Kong's return to China.

A rally was held earlier in the day to "reclaim" a park in Tuen Mun where so-called "dancing aunties" have sung Mandarin pop songs through loud microphones and danced for generally older men who give them cash donations.

  • Leroy Wright


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