Hong Kong Government Withdraws Controversial Extradition By Phillip Howard
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently announced the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that saw months of protests. Lam claimed that the removal of the bill was of her own initiative, and did not face any pressure from Beijing.
The bill would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong fugitives to mainland China and any jurisdiction in the world that Hong Kong has no formal agreements with. Hong Kong currently has extradition agreements with over 20 countries.
Despite the removal, it was reported earlier in the week that Chinese officials tried to kill any efforts by Lam to withdraw the bill.
Lam stated during her televised address that Beijing “respected” and “supported” her moves, including when Lam tried to suspend the bill back in June.
“Throughout the whole process the [Chinese] Central People’s Government took the position that they understood why we had to do it, they respected my view and supported me all the way,” Lam contended. “Lingering violence is damaging the very foundations of our society, especially the rule of law,” said Lam in reference to the protests that continued for months.
The withdrawal of the bill was met with very little fanfare in Hong Kong and throughout the rest of the world. Joshua Wong, a prominent Hong Kong student activist and politician, said on Twitter that the move was “too little and too late.”
Protests seem as though they will not be dying down, rather, protests may continue and focus on more and broader democratic reforms.
“I haven’t heard anyone say they will stop protesting because of the withdrawal because a lot of the anger is now over police brutality and overreach,” said Wilson Leung, who helped found the Hong Kong-based Progressive Lawyers Group.
Phillip Howard is a graduate student at Utica College