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Carrie Lam apologizes again but won’t pull extradition bill

发表于 6/18/2019 19:37:25 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 郭国汀 于 6/18/2019 19:41 编辑

Hong Kong’s leader apologizes again but won’t pull controversial extradition bill
After days of mass protests, critics see the apology as insufficient — and want the bill withdrawn entirely.
By Jen Kirbyjen.kirby@vox.com Jun 18, 2019, 3:50pm EDT

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam gives press conference about the controversial extradition bill on June 18, 2019. Carl Court/Getty Images
Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, apologized Tuesday for proposing a controversial extradition bill that sparked massive protests last week — but she stopped short of withdrawing the legislation altogether.
“I personally have to shoulder much of the responsibility,” Lam said, according to the BBC. “This has led to controversies, disputes and anxieties in society. For this I offer my most sincere apology to all people of Hong Kong.”
Lam promised on Saturday to “indefinitely suspend” the extradition legislation, which would allow a person arrested in Hong Kong to face trial outside the semi-autonomous city-state, most notably in mainland China. The bill is contentious because many Hong Kong residents see this as another attempt by Beijing to tighten its control over Hong Kong, which has its own judicial and political system under the “one country, two systems” doctrine.
Lam’s decision to put the bill on pause didn’t satisfy many in Hong Kong who saw this as a standard delay tactic, and prompted another round of huge protests on Sunday. An estimated 2 million people — out of the city’s population of 7 million — swarmed the streets. It came a week after days of tension in the city-state, including demonstrations on Wednesday that turned violent and protests the previous Sunday that saw nearly one in seven Hong Kongers take to the streets.
On Tuesday, Lam said she would not proceed with the legislation “if these fears and anxieties could not be adequately addressed,” referring to the opposition to the bill. But critics and some protesters again saw this concession as hollow, as Lam’s refusal to formally scrap the bill leaves open the possibility that lawmakers could quickly take up the legislation before the end of the year.
She is trying to delay and hope Hong Kong people forget,” Tim, a 26-year-old finance professional in Hong Kong who’s protested the bill, told Vox via WhatsApp.

A crowd has been forming outside the legislature. Sisco Chan, a 21-year-old student, told HKFP that she did not accept Chief Executive Carrie Lam's apology: "It's bullshit... I feel angry and like I'm losing hope in Hong Kong. What else can we do?"

Lam has also resisted calls to resign, saying she sought “another chance.”
Protesters are also pressuring officials to drop rioting charges against those arrested last Wednesday. Last week, demonstrations turned violent, as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters. Police defended their response and had characterized the demonstrations as a “riot,”which carries legal significance, as rioters can face up to 10 years in prison.
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo said Monday that only five of the 32 people arrested would face charges, but neither he nor Lam has apologized for the police’s use of force.
All this has left Hong Kong in limbo. While the extradition bill is on hold right now, the threat hasn’t been removed. Beijing continues to back Lam. More protests and strikes are likely, protesters told me, but plans are still being formulated.
The extradition law at the center of Hong Kong’s protests, briefly explained
The protests in Hong Kong over the past 10 days have brought millions of people to the streets to push back against this extradition bill that critics see as a direct threat to the territory’s democracy and another example of Beijing’s encroachment.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, is a quasi-independent city-state. In 1997, Britain handed it back over to China on the condition that the territory be allowed to govern itself for the next 50 years under the principle of “one country, two systems.”
But that’s been increasingly under threat, as Beijing wants to bring Hong Kong closer into its orbit.
“In recent years, the Hong Kong government has disqualified elected lawmakers, banned activists from running for office, prohibited a political party, jailed pro-democracy leaders, expelled a senior foreign journalist, and looked the other way when Beijing kidnapped its adversaries in Hong Kong,” Ben Bland, a Hong Kong expert at the Lowy Institute in Australia, told Vox’s Alex Ward last week.
Demonstrators see this extradition bill as another example of that. Hong Kong doesn’t have a formal extradition treaty with mainland China, but this legislation would allow Hong Kong’s chief executive (the city-state’s governor, basically) to transfer arrestees on a case-by-case basis to face trial in China — and it would apply retroactively.
Critics fear this will let Beijing arbitrarily target anyone it deems a threat, and that there will be little check on the chief executive’s power, as she was handpicked by the government in Beijing.
Lam previously defended the extradition bill, saying it’s intended to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a safe haven for fugitives.
She has now backtracked, cowing to pressure and suspending the bill. But critics want her to withdraw the legislation completely, and remove the threat that lawmakers could quickly try to take it up again once the demonstrations and public opposition subside.
Which is why protesters see the fight against this bill as incomplete. Billy, a 29-year-old from Hong Kong who’s currently in the UK, told me the protests were not a victory. “Not much has been achieved apart from the delay in legislation of a law that is threatening the existence of Hong Kong.”

 楼主| 发表于 6/18/2019 19:44:13 | 显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 郭国汀 于 6/18/2019 20:00 编辑

Hong Kong protesters unimpressed by Lam’s ‘sincere’ apology
Chief suggests extradition law effectively shelved but protesters say key demands ignored
Tue 18 Jun 2019 14.08 BSTFirst published on Tue 18 Jun 2019 07.34 BST

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has offered a “solemn” personal apology for the crisis that has engulfed the city since she tried to force a controversial extradition law on to the books.
The leader of the semi-autonomous city also hinted on Tuesday that she had effectively shelved the legislation, but protesters criticised her as insincere and said she had ignored their key demands.
In her first press conference since record crowds poured on to the streets of Hong Kong to denounce her on Sunday, the bureaucrat-turned-politician described going through an emotional time of “self-reflection”, and said she hoped to heal divisions that had opened up in Hong Kong society.
But opposition leaders and protesters said that instead of defusing “fears and anxieties” that Lam acknowledged were stirred up by the much-criticised extradition bill, her intransigence risked inflaming them.
“She is a walking disaster. She really did not respond to any of the demands,” said the veteran politician Emily Lau. Protesters want Lam to prepare her resignation, withdraw the extradition law, apologise both for police brutality at protests last week and for describing one as a riot, and to halt the roundup of activists.
“What’s so difficult about saying ‘I will withdraw the bill’?” Lau asked, after Lam gave a complex explanation of why the legislation she suspended last month would probably never make it on to the books.
She told journalists that after she suspended the bill at the weekend, it was likely to simply “time out”. The legislative session finishes in just over a year, and if the bill has not been passed by then it lapses and cannot be revived.
“I will not proceed again with this legislative exercise if these fears and anxieties could not be adequately addressed,” Lam said. “If the bill does not make legislative council by July next year, it will expire and the government will accept that reality.”
Sound of Hong Kong's defiance reverberates in Beijing

Beyond that partial concession, Lam offered protesters little. She said she would not resign, avoided questions about an independent inquiry into the demonstrations and said only that protesters who had not used violence would not need to worry about rioting charges, citing a previous statement from the city’s police chief.
“It’s another bunch of rubbish,” said Freeman Yan, a protester. “She cannot hoodwink people with one lie after another. I don’t feel any sincerity. I don’t trust her. She can always revive the bill in a repackaged form.”
People in Hong Kong are worried the law would fatally damage the city’s economy and society by allowing both residents and visitors to be sent for trial in China’s opaque, Communist party-controlled courts.
A day earlier, Lam had reportedly told senior educators in private that suspension of the bill meant “total withdrawal”. But publicly using the word withdrawal, which was scrawled across countless protest signs at the weekend, might have been deemed too damaging for her crippled administration.
Lam had already faced a humiliating climbdown on Saturday, when she announced she would suspend the bill and apologised for failures of communication, only days after she promised to ram it through the legislature.
She insisted she acted alone trying to pass the law. But her efforts were endorsed by top Chinese leaders, and as Beijing’s handpicked choice to lead the city, her misjudgment has also damaged China’s autocratic president, Xi Jinping.
He is likely to be profoundly disturbed by a massive popular mobilisation that could provide ammunition or inspiration to his enemies inside China or abroad.
People came in record numbers on Sunday to march through the city centre, with organisers putting the turnout at nearly 2 million. Even Lam acknowledged that many in the streets were people who had previously steered clear of politics.
Hong Kong police chief admits officers sought to arrest wounded protesters in hospital

Public anger remains high, and with protesters still furious, both Lam and Beijing will be weighing the political cost of further concessions against the political risk of inflaming tensions by standing firm.
“[Lam] came out to apologise, but wanted to apologise without doing anything concrete. This is not going to satisfy anyone,” said another lawmaker, Charles Mok. “I keep getting messages saying she didn’t address what we were marching for.
“We are discussing how to keep up pressure on her, most importantly not to persecute young people.”
Some people were already calling for another march this week, but there are usually large demonstrations on 1 July, Hong Kong’s national day, and some activists may prefer to swell that crowd.
“We are very disappointed and angry,” said Bonnie Leung, the vice-convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), which has helped organise the demonstrations. “We do not accept Carrie Lam’s so-called apology.”
She said the group was still discussing next steps, but planned to open a formal complaint about police brutality and urged victims and anyone with photo or video evidence to come forward and support the case.
In Britain, which handed the former colony over to China in 1997, Foreign Office minister Mark Field told MPs allegations of “inappropriate use of force” by Hong Kong police should be “fully investigated” by the authorities in the territory, adding that in the past the Hong Kong authorities had fined police that had over-stepped the mark, and suggested there may need to be reforms to the ways in which Hong Kong’s chief executive is elected and legislative council. But he warned if Lam were removed a more hardline figure might replace her.

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