Hong Kong's beleaguered chief exec says the extradition bill is "dead" but won't make it official

When the Chinese politburo gave itself the right to veto nominees for Hong Kong elections in 2016, it ensured that any future legislature on the supposedly independent island would be a puppet regime, its electors literally beholden to Beijing for their office; and by 2019, the puppet regime of Carrie Lam began to deconstruct Hong Kong's independence by introducing the "extradition bill," which would allow Beijing to demand that political dissidents be rendered to the Chinese mainland for show-trials and arbitrary detention.

It was a terrible political miscalculation, and it triggered a month of mass protests on a scale never seen in Hong Kong history; a month later, the protests are still going strong and popular sentiment is with the protesters, thanks in part to the violent police suppression tactics, which cast the opposition in a very sympathetic light.

The protesters want Lam to formally withdraw the extradition bill and then resign, but she won't do either (yet). Instead, she keeps using informal, nonbinding language to say that the bill is "on pause" and now "dead." These aren't terms that correspond to any formal processes within the Hong Kong legislature. If Lam wanted to actually take the extradition bill off the table, she would have to invoke Article 64, which she has steadfastly refused to do.

But there is some progress: Lam did shift from saying that the bill was "on pause" to saying it was "dead" and to explaining that this meant that while it would be part of her government's "legislative programme" until the government recesses in summer 2020, it would not come up for further consideration.

Rather than placating the protesters, though, this concession has emboldened them, leading them to call for a full withdrawal as part of a slate of five demands:

1. Withdrawing the extradition bill

2. Revoking the classification of protests as riots

3. Dropping all charges against all extradition bill protesters

4. Investigating police violence

5. Enstating universal suffrage in 2020

If Lam goes, she may not be the only official whose career is destroyed by the affair. Protesters have targeted Hong Kong's white, British-born superintendent of police, Rupert Dover, and demanded that he account for the violent political suppression he has overseen and participated in.

"The bill is dead is a political description and it is not legislative language," Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung told the BBC, adding that the bill was technically still in the process of a second reading.

"We have no idea why the chief executive refuses to adopt the word withdraw," he added.

One of the leading figures of the protest movement, student activist Joshua Wong, reiterated the demand for the bill to be "formally withdrawn" and accused Ms Lam of using wordplay to "lie to the people of Hong Kong".

Hong Kong extradition bill 'is dead' says Carrie Lam [BBC]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: HKU campus TV)