After months of protests, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Hong Kong’s leader, has withdrawn the so-called controversial extradition bill. The Beijing-backed leader made the announcement in a pre-recorded televised statement. She also said to set up an investigative platform to look into the causes of the social unrest.
On Wednesday Hong Kong’s leader has formally withdrawn the much-despised extradition bill that sparked almost three-month long protest crisis that roiled the city. In her video statement released via her office, Lam said that such move is meant to “fully allay public concerns.”
Some see Hong Kong’s formal withdrawal of the bill as a “breakthrough” in the crisis. However, it still unknown if it is going to be enough to defuse the situation as speculations say that the Hong Kong leader’s move was merely to buy Hong Kong some peace and quiet in the weeks leading up to the National Day celebrations on October 1.
Bonnie Leung, one of the organizers of the protests against the said bill and a civil rights activist, said that Hong Kong’s leader’s move is “not sufficient” enough. She added that the campaign is “already beyond the extradition bill” as the people of Hong Kong, already see police brutality and they were caught on camera. Thus, for her, she thinks that it is necessary to “have an independent inquiry to investigate everything.”
Protesters also demand amnesty for those arrested. In addition to that, they also demand for the people of Hong Kong to be able to directly elect their leaders, which is a major red line for Beijing.
However, in Lam’s remarks, she said that the government will not accept other demands, including the independent inquiry on the reported police brutality. In spite of that, Lam named two members to a police watchdog agency to investigate the matter.
Last week, reports say that Lam told a closed-door meeting that she had caused “unforgivable havoc” and would resign if she had an option, “having made a deep apology,” she said to an audio recording obtained by Reuters.
However, her announcement comes “too little too late,” for the region, as per Adam Ni, China researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney. He believes that Lam’s move will have “minimal effects” on the public and how they now view her government, as well as her “political masters in Beijing.” And if Lam doesn’t take further steps, Ni added that we can “expect the protests to continue.”