Published: Thu, June 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hong Kong Leader Offers Apology to Protesters

Hong Kong Leader Offers Apology to Protesters

While the bill would allow for Hong Kong to extradite to a number of jurisdictions on a case by case basis where it does not have a long term agreement, the prospect of extradition to China in particular has alarmed a wide cross-section of Hong Kong society. A day later, about two million people spilled on to the streets, many demanding that she step down.

'I will not proceed with this legislative exercise if these fears and anxieties could not be adequately addressed.' The bill ignited several major protests, including a march by almost 2million people on Sunday and by as many as a million a week earlier.

The idea of losing face - being publicly embarrassed - is a major cultural touchstone in China.

But some protest organizers and opposition Democrats said Lam remained tone-deaf to public demands, namely that she state categorically a retraction of the bill, step down immediately and pledge not to prosecute any protesters on rioting charges.

"Because this bill over the past few months has caused so much anxiety, and worries and differences in opinion, I will not, this is an undertaking, I will not proceed again with this legislative exercise if these fears and anxieties can not be adequately addressed", she said at a news conference, but refused to say the measure would be "withdrawn" despite numerous promptings.

"I am afraid our Hong Kong friends will face even darker, more hard moments in the coming years".

She again offered an apology at a press conference Tuesday in an attempt to assuage public anger, saying that the bill's legislative process has been indefinitely suspended.

She said, however, that work would not be revived on the contentious extradition bill unless it could be done well, noting that this was "unlikely" to happen during the current legislative session. Today, protesters largely vacated the area after the public demonstration climaxed over the weekend, The South China Morning Post reported. She also said she meant to finish her 5-year term.

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Lam, however, declined to submit to the main demands lodged by her critics, including retracting the bill and resigning.

Lo was speaking in an open dialogue in Taipei with Hong Kong's Lam Wing Kee (林榮基), the former owner of Causeway Bay Books, who fled to Taiwan in late April for fear of being sent to China if Hong Kong passes the extradition bill.

In response to reports of at least 72 injured during the protests, Lam said she was saddened that "some people, including police and media workers, were injured in the conflicts". The Executive Council that Lam oversees didn't meet on Tuesday.

But she did not give in to protester's demands that she leave office over her handling of the controversial bill.

Police used tear gas, steel batons and rubber bullets to subdue protesters during scuffles outside the government headquarters last Wednesday. If her opponents keep up the pressure and she does leave, she might opt to spend more time with her husband and children, who are British citizens and live elsewhere. He added that only five people had been arrested on riot-related offences and that most protesters were "peaceful".

On Tuesday, Lam did not elaborate on Lo's remarks except to say that those who protested peacefully would not face legal action.

The uproar also highlights worries that Hong Kong is losing the special autonomous status China promised it when it took control in 1997. Hong Kong's then-leader Tung Chee-hwa resigned midway into his second term.

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