Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Says Extradition Bill Is Dead, Protesters Remain Suspicious

By Penny Zhou

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is offering her biggest compromise to date, saying that the controversial extradition bill is dead following a month of extreme protests.

But protesters are not reassured.

The intense rejection of the bill comes from the fact that, if passed, the bill would allow the government to send anyone in Hong Kong to mainland China for trial, where there is no rule of law and the Communist regime is known for its harsh treatment of critics.

“In recent protests, there have been banners asking the question: Will the government eventually return this law for consideration of the Legislative Council. I do understand the worry,” Carrie Lam said in a press conference Tuesday. “So today, I again state clearly that, the revision of this extradition treaty has already reached the end of its life and passed away.”

“The bill is dead,” she repeated in English.

Despite pronouncing the death of the bill, Carrie Lam rejected the request to not prosecute the student protesters.

On July 1, some protesters occupied the city’s legislative council in a desperate attempt to prompt a government response.

“Any demand that we should grant an amnesty at this stag—in other words, [that] we will not follow up on investigations and prosecutions of offenders—is not acceptable,” Lam said. “Because that bluntly goes against the rule of law in Hong Kong.”

She also remained silent on protesters’ demand for direct elections in Hong Kong and for herself to step down as Chief Executive.

Hong Kongers are not impressed with the government’s attitude.

Joshua Wong, a pro-democracy student leader, called Lam’s “the bill is dead” phrasing “another ridiculous lie to the people of #HongKong and foreign media.”

He added that the bill still exists in the legislative program, and that it will remain there until July of next year.

He said Lam should formally withdraw the bill.

Other residents are saying it’s too late to downplay the scale of the issue.

“A lot of people are complaining about issues of the police abusing their [power], and there are also just fundamental questions of institutional governance,” 22-year-old Hong Kong resident Sammy Tsui said. “The government does not listen to the will of the people, and so I think this is a really good time to bring back the fight for genuine universal suffrage.”

The protest organizers, Civil Human Rights Front, said that they are frustrated with Lam’s rejection of citizens’ demands. They confirmed there are more protests yet to come.