Hong Kong extradition bill is dead says Lam

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-48917796

Carrie LamImage copyright
AFP

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said the controversial bill that would have allowed extradition to the Chinese mainland “is dead”.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Ms Lam said the government’s work on the bill had been a “total failure”.

But she stopped short of saying it had been withdrawn completely, as protesters have been demanding.

The bill sparked weeks of unrest in the city and the government had already suspended it indefinitely.

“But there are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council,” Ms Lam told reporters.

“So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”

She had previously said the bill “will die” in 2020 when the current legislative term ends.

BBC correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports that Ms Lam’s statement is “a clear attempt to take the energy out of the huge protests against her controversial extradition bill”.

Critics of the legislation argue it would undermine the territory’s judicial independence and could be used to target critics of the Chinese government in Beijing.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, is part of China but run under a “one country, two systems” arrangement that guarantees it a level of autonomy.

It has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Police used teargas during their clashes with protesters

Demonstrations continued even after the government had suspended the proposed bill in mid-June, with several protests turning violent.

On 1 July protesters forced their way into the central chamber of Hong Kong’s parliament after an hours-long siege.

Many of the demonstrators are also calling for Ms Lam to step down, and for police not to prosecute those arrested during the protests.

Thousands took to the streets on 7 July in an area popular with mainland Chinese tourists, in a bid to explain their concerns over the bill.

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Media captionOn Sunday, thousands gathered on the streets of Hong Kong

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