After Months of Unrest, a 'Dramatic U-Turn' in Hong Kong

Leader Carrie Lam withdraws controversial extradition bill that sparked violent protests
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 4, 2019 6:11 AM CDT
Updated Sep 4, 2019 6:57 AM CDT
After Months of Unrest, a 'Dramatic U-Turn' in Hong Kong
A protester wears a helmet and googles during a pro-democracy rally in Tamar Park, Hong Kong, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam formally withdrew an extradition bill Wednesday as protesters have demanded, in what CNN notes was a "dramatic U-turn" for the chief executive. The bill allowing Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trials has sparked massive protests that have rocked the city since June. Lam had previously suspended the bill, but protesters wanted it entirely withdrawn, the AP reports. "We must find ways to address the discontent in society and look for solutions. After more than two months of social unrest, it is obvious to many that this discontentment extends far beyond the bill," Lam said in a video statement Wednesday evening, per CNN, which notes Lam refused protesters' other demands, including democratic reforms to Hong Kong's government and an independent inquiry into police actions against protesters.

Lam has come under withering criticism for pushing the extradition bill, which many in Hong Kong see as an example of the city's eroding autonomy since the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997. She was elected as Hong Kong's chief executive by a pro-Beijing committee of Hong Kong elites, and the mainland government has spoken in support of her government and the city's police force during the protests. Clashes between police and protesters have become increasingly violent, and more than 1,100 people have been detained. As for her own future, Lam said at a presser she'd never tendered her resignation, responding to leaked audio of her telling business leaders recently that she would quit if she had a choice. "I have not even contemplated ... a resignation," she said. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)

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