Hong Kong leader formally withdraws extradition bill that sparked protests

Hong Kong leader formally withdraws extradition bill that sparked protests
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Hong Kong’s leader on Wednesday formally announced the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that sparked months of anti-government protests.

Carrie Lam made the announcement in hopes of bringing an end to the turmoil in the city, according to The New York Times.

Lam suspended the bill in June. It would have allowed citizens of the semi-autonomous city to be extradited to China, which was seen as a major point of contention for protestors.

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Protests started in late March in opposition to the legislation but have since evolved to more general anti-government demonstrations, with Lam becoming a primary target of the backlash.

Lam’s decision to pull the bill comes a day after China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office signaled that it was not in favor of such a move.

“Whoever truly loves Hong Kong should clear their eyes and firm their stance,” said Yang Guang, a spokesman for the office. “They should be crystal clear that there is no middle ground, no hesitance and no dithering, when it comes to stopping the violence and controlling riots in Hong Kong.”

It is unclear if the removal of the contentious bill will quell the protests, some of which have turned violent in recent weeks.

Protesters are calling for an independent investigation into the police’s response to the demonstrations as well as amnesty for arrested protesters. Additionally, protesters want direct elections for all of Hong Kong’s lawmakers and the chief executive.

Lam reportedly said earlier this week that she would “quit" if she were able to. On Tuesday, she stressed that she had not submitted her resignation to Beijing, nor even "contemplated" discussing it with Chinese officials.