Hong Kong chief execuive Carrie Lam has announced the suspension of the city’s controversial extradition law bill which has seen hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets in protest this week.
In announcing the suspension of the bill, Lam said her administration would do better in “explanation work” to address the concerns of society and offered no time frame in which the bill would be passed.
Leader Carrie Lam: “We regret that this incident caused a split in society."
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) June 15, 2019
What she said:
1. The bill is no longer urgent because Taiwan won’t accede to the proposed amendments.
Lam started her speech by pointing out a murder case in Taiwan last year in which the Hong Kong suspect returned home and the government was unable to transfer the suspect to Taiwan. The case she said exposed loopholes in Hong Kong’s extradition system with respect to the transfer of suspected criminals to the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Macau. But now, “In consideration of the overt and clear expression by Taiwan repeatedly that it will not accede to the suggested arrangement of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government in the transfer of the concerned suspect, the original urgency to pass the bill in this legislative year is no longer there.”
2. It was all just a communications problem.
“I have to admit that our explanation and communication work has not been sufficient, or effective. Although many people agree with our slew of original proposals, there are still polarised opinions on the bill. There are supporting views and opposing ones, and their stances are very often polarised. Furthermore, many members of the public still have concerns and doubts about the bill. Some find it difficult to understand why the urgency, and are unhappy with the process of the amendments. We have made many attempts to narrow differences and eliminate doubts.”
3. The amendment has been suspended, not withdrawn.
“After repeated internal deliberations over the last few days, I now announce that the government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise, restart our communication with all sectors of society, do more explanation work and listen to different views of society. I want to stress that the government is adopting an open mind to heed comprehensively different views in society towards the bill.”