Hong Kong leader says controversial extradition bill unlikely to be revived

Hong Kong leader says controversial extradition bill unlikely to be revived
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A since-suspended Hong Kong extradition bill that drew hundreds of thousands of protesters is unlikely to be revived, Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

“Work in the next three years will be difficult, but we will work to rebuild confidence in the ... government. We have a lot to do,” Lam said at a press conference, according to the AP.

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“In recognition of the anxiety and fears caused by the bill in the last few months, if we don’t have confidence from the people we will not proceed with the legislative exercise again,” she added.

Lam did not formally retract the bill, under which some criminal suspects could be extradited to mainland China for trial, according to the AP.

Lam has previously apologized for the handling of the bill, but her statement failed to quell the massive protests that have gripped the city, with about 2 million demonstrators calling for her resignation and for the legislation to be retracted entirely over the weekend.

Opponents of the bill have argued it would compromise the island’s independence and potentially expose critics of China’s ruling Communist Party to mainland prosecution.

Historically, Hong Kong has excluded the country from its extradition agreements due to concerns over China’s human rights record.

Some protest organizers and opposition leaders said Lam’s latest statement was also unlikely to end the protests, saying Lam’s refusal to step down, fully retract the bill or promise not to prosecute any demonstrators for rioting showed she misread the public mood, according to Reuters.

“Carrie Lam is continuing to lie,” Jimmy Sham, the convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, said, according to Reuters. “We hope the people of Hong Kong can unite with us ... to keep working hard to withdraw the evil law,” he told reporters.