The pro-Beijing leader said her government’s handling of the controversial extradition bill had been a “total failure.” Pro-democracy protesters had demanded she withdraw the bill entirely.
The controversial legislation would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to China to face trial. The bill was suspended by Lam last month following clashes between protesters and police during several massive anti-bill demonstrations.
Protesters called on Lam to resign and withdraw the bill entirely.
Stopping short of explicitly meeting that demand, Lam said: “There are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries (about) whether the government will restart the process with the Legislative Council. So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”
Protesters said the extradition law would expose Hong Kong residents to the mainland Chinese judicial system, where they would not get a fair trial. They also feared the bill is part of a campaign by Beijing to undermine the city’s semi-autonomous status.
Although Hong Kong was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997, it is still administered separately under a “one country, two systems” arrangement.
On Sunday, some 230,000 people marched toward a railway station that links Hong Kong to China to signal their grievances to mainland residents. Police clashed with some demonstrators during a post-march rally.
jsi/amp (Reuters, AFP)