Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam Expected to Suspend Extradition Bill
Hong Kong girded for another mass march against a China-backed extradition bill Sunday, as the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, faced new calls to withdraw the legislation after clashes between protesters and police. #ExtraditionBill
The government may suspend the controversial bill to defuse tensions, local media reported. Lam is expected to announce Saturday that she will delay consideration of the extradition bill, Sing Tao Daily reported without saying where it got the information. The chief executive took the decision after discussions with government officials last night, the newspaper said.
The Civil Human Rights Front, which organized a mass demonstration that drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets last weekend, said it had applied for police permission to stage a similar event. The move comes as allies of Lam began questioning her tactics and lawmakers postponed debate on a controversial extradition bill until at least next week.
On Friday, one of Lam’s top advisers said her administration underestimated the amount of opposition to the bill, casting doubt on whether the law could be rushed through before the end of the legislative period next month. The government is considering options including a pause, rather than withdrawing the bill, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified sources.
“I think it is impossible to discuss under such confrontation. It’s highly difficult,” Executive Council convener Bernard Chan said on Hong Kong’s RTHK radio. “At least these days, we shouldn’t intensify such confrontation.”
Lam has insisted on pushing ahead with the bill, despite protests that have drawn hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets over concerns it would further strengthen Beijing’s grip over Hong Kong. While only a few protesters were still near the legislature on Friday, Lam called off an appearance at a technology conference organized by the Wall Street Journal, organizers said.
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