Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday said the extradition bill that triggered mass protests in the region “is dead” but protestors dismissed her comments, threatening to carry on with demonstrations, BBC reported. Lam said the administration’s work on introducing the bill had been a “total failure”.
“But there are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council,” the news channel quoted Lam as saying. “So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”
However, she failed to appease demonstrators who expected her to say that the bill had been withdrawn completely. “What Carrie Lam saying ‘the Bill is dead’ is another ridiculous lie to the people of Hong Kong and foreign media because the bill still exists in the ‘legislative programme’ until July next year,” democracy activist Joshua Wong tweeted.
Wong said the proper way to “kill the bill” is to invoke Article 64 of the rules and procedures in order to formally withdraw the bill. “I think the key is whether she would promise not to initiate the bill again during her term,” he said. “She has to make it clear.”
Protestors continued to demand Lam’s resignation, forcing her to reduce her public appearances. “I come to the conclusion that there are some fundamental and deep-seated problems in Hong Kong society,” Lam said.
Experts, however, said her assurances would not do much to deter the protestors. “Trust in the government has sunk to such a record level that if there’s not a clear fulfillment of the [key] demands, the majority of the Hong Kong public will still be very sceptical of the government’s sincerity,” AFP quoted analyst Dixon Sing as saying.
Meanwhile, a squabble broke out in the pro-Beijing camp over the handling of the protests. The police came under fire for the way they dealt with protestors while former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang backed the call for an inquiry into the clashes between security personnel and demonstrators, South China Morning Post reported.
Following days of violent protests against the extradition bill since June 12, Lam announced last month that the bill would be indefinitely delayed. However, the protests did not die down.
On July 1, anti-government protestors stormed the Legislative Council building and painted the walls of the main debating chamber with graffiti. The following day, Hong Kong police retook control of Parliament after firing tear gas shells at demonstrators.