HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said her administration’s bill to allow people to be sent to the Chinese mainland for trial was “dead” following a series of mass protests.
However, she did not announce to completely withdraw the extradition bill as demonstrators have demanded.
“There are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries (about) whether the government will restart the process with the legislative council,” she told journalists on Tuesday, referring to Hong Kong’s parliament.
“So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”
Lam admitted that the government’s work on the issue had been a “total failure”.
The bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be extradited to China for trial, has sparked huge and at times violent street protests.
However, Lam announcement failed to satisfy the protesters. Local activist Ventus Lau Wing-Hong said he could see no reason for the demonstrations to stop.
Lau was disqualified from running in elections last year after showing support for Hong Kong’s independence on Facebook.
“The response just shows that she is still very stubborn,” Lau said. “To avoid using the word ‘withdraw’ shows that she still wants to play the word game instead of directly answering yes to our demand. I can’t see any reasons why people will stop their protests.”
Joshua Wong, who led the Umbrella Protests that brought the city to a standstill in 2014, dismissed Lam’s comments on the bill’s status as a “ridiculous lie”, noting that unless the bill was withdrawn it would remain in the government’s legislative programme until July next year.