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Report: China Plans to Replace Hong Kong Leader

Bill that sparked protests officially withdrawn
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2019 4:36 AM CDT
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam holds copies of the policy statements for the media during a press conference at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. ision.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
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(Newser) – After five months of protests in Hong Kong, sources say that China plans to replace embattled leader Carrie Lam—though since one of the protesters' key demands is the right to choose their own leader, the move is unlikely to bring an end to demonstrations. Sources tell the Financial Times that Lam would resign in March under a proposal that will need the approval of President Xi Jinping. The sources say an interim chief executive would replace Lam some time around March and remain until her term ends in 2022. The insiders say officials in mainland China want the situation in Hong Kong to stabilize before Lam is replaced so that it is not seen as a victory for protesters, RTHK reports.

The controversial extradition bill that sparked demonstrations in June was finally formally withdrawn Wednesday, the AP reports. The secretary for Security said the bill was being pulled because it had caused "conflicts in society." Lam said last month that the bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited to mainland China, was going to be withdrawn, but protesters worried that it could be revived at any time until the withdrawal became official, the Guardian reports. Beyond the withdrawal of the bill and universal suffrage, the protesters' "Five Demands" include the withdrawal of the characterization of the protests as "riots," an independent investigation of police violence, and the release and exoneration of arrested protesters. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)

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