Extradition bill death elicits complex replies
Trouble-making foreign, domestic forces doomed to fail in Hong Kong: FM
The extradition bill is dead, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said Tuesday, prompting some observers to urge protesters to end the violence and let the government fix the problem while others warned of the dangers to society of appeasing extremists.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has halted the fugitive law amendment, and so the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 is dead, Lam made the statement ahead of an executive council meeting on Tuesday.
Lam sought to allay concerns the bill might be resubmitted to the Legislative Council (Legco).
“I have almost immediately put a stop to the amendment exercise, but there are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council.
Lam said that the cause of “recent grievances and confrontations in society was the government’s bid to amend the fugitive offenders ordinance.”
“So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”
On Lam’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Tuesday that after the bill’s postponement on June 15, the central government expressed their support, respect and understanding for the HKSAR government. “On this issue, I have nothing new to add.”
Victor Chan Chi-ho, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Young Commentators, told the Global Times on Tuesday that since Lam already said the bill is dead, opposition groups and radical protesters who strongly oppose the bill should now stop their violent and illegal activities to avoid further damage to the city’s legal system and social order.
Even after the storming of the Legco on July 1 damaged the complex so seriously that no meetings are scheduled until October, Hong Kong opposition groups and radical protesters haven’t ceased involvement in conflicts with the police.
On Sunday night, five people were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer or obstructing officers in Mong Kok, a major shopping area in Kowloon district, and another was arrested earlier for failing to produce proof of identity, media said.
Compromising with such protesters by announcing the death of the bill could eventually harm the stability of the city, warned Hung Kam-in, a member of the Kwun Tong District Council in Hong Kong.
“We understand why the government made a concession as it’s facing heavy pressure from the opposition groups and protesters,” Hung said. But he worried that such a compromise would “encourage radicalism” and embolden opposition groups into launching more protests that damage the social order in their belief that violent trouble making gets results.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the city warned on its official website Tuesday that “any collusion by forces in and out of Hong Kong to destabilize the city and damage people’s interests is doomed to fail.”
The office made the remarks after US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Hong Kong anti-china businessman Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, a main founder of Hong Kong opposition groups and owner of some anti-china media outlets in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Denise Ho Wan-see, a Hong Kong-secessionist of Canadian nationality, as an “NGO representative,” delivered a speech at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to challenge China’s sovereignty over HKSAR.
In response to Ho’s demand that the UNHRC expel China, Geng said she was “having a wishful thinking, and she has seriously overestimated herself.”