Finally, Hong Kong leader withdraws extradition Bill

Hong Kong, September 4 

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday withdrew an extradition bill that triggered months of often violent protests so the Chinese-ruled city can move forward from a “highly vulnerable and dangerous” place and find solutions. Her televised announcement came after Reuters reports on Friday and Monday revealing that Beijing had thwarted an earlier proposal from Lam to withdraw the bill and that she had said privately that she would resign if she could, according to an audio recording obtained by Reuters. It is not clear if killing the bill will end the unrest.

“Lingering violence is damaging the very foundations of our society, especially the rule of law,” a sombre Lam said as she sat with her hands folded on a desk in front of her. The withdrawal, a key demand of protesters, came after unrest that drove the former British colony to the edge of anarchy as the government repeatedly refused to back down, igniting pitched battles across the city of seven million, the arrests of more than 1,000 protesters, and leaving a society deeply divided.

Many are furious about perceived police brutality and the number of arrests (1,183) and want an independent inquiry. 

“The government will formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns,” Lam said. “I pledge that the government will seriously follow up the recommendations of the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Council) report. 

The protests began in March but snowballed in June and have since evolved into a push for greater democracy for the city. The bill would have allowed extraditions to mainland China where courts are controlled by the Communist Party. — Reuters

Cathay chairman quits weeks after CEO left

SINGAPORE: Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways shook up its top ranks further as chairman John Slosar resigned on Wednesday, less than three weeks after mounting Chinese regulatory scrutiny led to the shocking departure of its chief executive. The airline has become the biggest corporate casualty of anti-government protests after China demanded it suspend staff involved in, or who support, demonstrations. Reuters

Turmoil began post proposal for case-wise extradition changes

February 2019 Hong Kong’s Security Bureau submits paper to legislature proposing amendments for case-by-case extradition to countries, including mainland China

April 3 Amid protests, Lam’s government introduces amendments to extradition laws

May 11 Scuffles break out in Hong Kong legislature between pro-democracy lawmakers and those loyal to Beijing

May 30 Concessions introduced, including limiting the scope of extraditable offences; not enough, say critics

June 9 Over half a million people take to streets 

June 12 Police fire rubber bullets and tear gas officers; offices maintain shut

June 15 Carrie Lam indefinitely delays the proposed extradition law

July 1 Protesters storm Legislative Council on 22nd anniversary of the handover from British to Chinese rule, daubing walls with graffiti

JULY 9 Carrie Lam says the Bill is dead and that government work on the legislation had been a “total failure”

SEPT 2 Carrie Lam reportedly says she has caused unforgivable havoc and “would quit if she had a choice” Reuters