Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam announced on television she will completely withdraw a hated extradition bill, after months of large-scale protests in opposition to the legislation, which would have allowed the city to send suspects to mainland China for trial.
The complete withdrawal of the bill has been one of protesters’ five core demands, but is unlikely to pacify the bulk of protesters. Their four other demands—including the most pressing one of establishing an independent investigation into alleged police misconduct, and the most ambitious one of allowing free elections for Hong Kong’s leaders—remain unmet. In recent weeks, police have drastically stepped up their use of force, including beating citizens indiscriminately in a subway station, and firing tear gas and rubber bullets in an indoor space, against regulations.
In her pre-recorded announcement she called for dialogue, but also reiterated that charges and prosecutions against protesters would not be dropped—another of the five key demands. She also called that actions of protectors aimed at symbols of China a “direct challenge” to the “one country, two systems” framework ensuring Hong Kong’s autonomy after its 1997 return.
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