Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam has finally fully withdrawn a controversial bill that allowed extradition to mainland China and sparked three months of dramatic protests in the financial hub.
… Lam refused to give ground on protesters’ four other demands, including greater democracy for the city and an independent commission into police conduct, saying all investigations would be carried out by the existing Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC).
…In recent weeks, protesters’ tactics have become increasingly violent as young people felt the government was refusing to consider their demands.
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Michael Tien said that Lam’s withdrawal may not stem their anger. “I believe the withdrawal of the bill … may be too late because this movement has become more than the bill,” he said.
Activist Joshua Wong, who was last week arrested in a police sweep of activists and opposition politicians, wrote on Twitter: “Carrie Lam’s repeated failure in understanding the situation has made this announcement completely out of touch – She needs to address to ALL Five Demands: STOP PROSECUTION, STOP CALLING US RIOTERS, INDEPENDENT INQUIRY OF POLICE and FREE ELECTION!”
…Many will be asking why it took three months of unprecedented unrest, violence and damage to the city’s economy for the government to upgrade the bill from “suspended” to “withdrawn,” despite repeatedly insisting that it had no future and would not be reintroduced.
Lam may be hoping that the move will put a lid on the protests ahead of October 1, when China will celebrate National Day and mark 70 years of the People’s Republic.
…”She will have to take further steps, such as setting up an independent inquiry into police conduct. If she does not take further steps, then we can expect the protests to continue.”