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

VIDEO: No serious injuries in Hope apartment fire

Smoke was seen billowing from ground flood suite on Park Street

VIDEO: How to line your kitchen compost container

Newspaper lining for your kitchen container will help keep the smell down

Hope Cinema to show international mountain films

Hope Mountain Centre showing select films from popular Vancouver festival

Students in the Fraser East work hard, need more mental health support

McCreary Centre releases stats from 2018 that show trends among students

Hockey 4: Simply for the love of hockey

No scores kept, no MVPs named — in Hope they just play for fun

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

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

Most Read