19 votes

Hong Kong Government Withdraws Extradition Bill, A Key Demand Of Protesters

5 comments

  1. mundane_and_naive
    Link
    From what I see in r/HongKong, public opinions is that 1. this is too little too late and they will continue to protest until all 5 demands are met, 2. the bill still hasn't been withdrawn yet,...

    From what I see in r/HongKong, public opinions is that 1. this is too little too late and they will continue to protest until all 5 demands are met, 2. the bill still hasn't been withdrawn yet, all she said is that they are going to once the Legislative Council resume meeting in October, the meeting which said bill could also be passed. So this announcement may be meant to buy time.

    10 votes
  2. Sahasrahla
    Link
    From an article posted a few days ago: Police brutality has become a major issue (some recent examples, more context for how the view of the HKPF has changed) and what might have mollified the...

    From an article posted a few days ago:

    When asked why they were protesting, the vast majority of respondents (more than 90%) cited two main motivations: the complete withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill and an independent inquiry into excessive use of force by police against the protesters.

    Interestingly, from July onwards, police violence has become a more pressing concern for respondents, with those who see it as “very important” rising from 85% to over 95%. Protesters have also increasingly said they are fighting for Hong Kong’s democracy, with those who see it as “very important” rising from 83% to 88%.

    The resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other major officials was considered the least important reason for protesting. This suggests that a change in leadership is not viewed as a solution to the political crisis – unlike in 2003, when half a million people marched against changes to Hong Kong’s national security laws and demanded the resignation of then-leader C.H. Tung.

    Instead, the protesters are seeking a fundamental reform of the entire political system.

    Police brutality has become a major issue (some recent examples, more context for how the view of the HKPF has changed) and what might have mollified the protesters months ago could be too little now as the situation has fundamentally changed. Also, although general sentiment is impossible to know at this point, some prominent individuals have expressed distrust in this move:

    Ray Chan, lawmaker from People Power

    “We must be cautious. Now, Carrie Lam could use the bill’s withdrawal as a pretext to frame protesters as perpetrators of violence. As the bill is withdrawn, the logic goes, then any ongoing protests must be serving ulterior motives, Hong Kong independence or a colour revolution.”

    Protest organiser, the Civil Human Rights Front

    “Chief Executive Carrie Lam did respond to one of the demands, but if she wants to use this to resolve the crisis, then she has made a serious error in political judgment and will not fix the situation.”

    “Since March, the public has organised repeated protests, and from June to August there [were] marches with turnouts in the millions. Self-initiated actions have taken root in civil society. If Carrie Lam withdrew the bill in June, then there [would] not be repeated incidents of police violence and mob attacks. We believe that Lam’s administration tolerated these attacks from the police and triads out of her arrogance, which makes the situation not just about withdrawing the bill.”

    The Citizens Press Conference, a group of masked protesters

    “Despite what Carrie Lam has said earlier today, we want the world to know the bill is not withdrawn. Do not be fooled again.”

    “Carrie Lam stated that the proposal for the bill’s withdrawal will be raised in the legislature. However, LegCo will not be in session until October. Even more alarmingly, LegCo is not elected by the Hong Kong people and therefore consists mainly of pro-Beijing legislators.”

    “Hongkongers can see right through Carrie Lam’s lies. She wants a way to shift her responsibilities, so that when the proposal is rejected by LegCo in October, she can say it is not her fault, and then legitimately proceed with passing the bill.”

    “To our friends around the world, please do not think this government has backed down, because it certainly has not. It is just seeking to create confusion, attempting to distract and escape accountability. Please don’t let them succeed.”

    “If Carrie Lam had withdrawn the bill two months ago, that may have been a quick fix. But applying a band-aid months later onto rotting flesh will simply not cut it.”

    (More quotes and reporting on this issue here, definitely worth reading if you want more in-depth coverage.)

    Many people in Hong Kong, even those who have not been on the front lines of the protests, have been victimized. Tear gas has been used indiscriminately in residential areas, civilians have been beaten, protesters have been marked en masse with dyes and powders, people have seen school children harassed and tackled by police; the list goes on. People are angry and they want change. It's too soon to say what effect this new development will have on the protest movement but I wouldn't bet that this ends it.

    5 votes
  3. [2]
    gpl
    Link
    I wonder now how this changes the dynamic. From my understanding, much of the protesting now has been around the police brutality and tactics used against protesters (of course, the extradition...

    I wonder now how this changes the dynamic. From my understanding, much of the protesting now has been around the police brutality and tactics used against protesters (of course, the extradition bill remained very high on the list of priorities). With this concession I wonder if public support for the protests slowly drops and there is a desire for a return to normalcy. My completely un-evidenced based observation is that protests tend to peter out once they become focused on second order effects related to protesting.

    This seems like a nice victory for protesters nonetheless. Would be nicer to see the other demands met too.

    3 votes
    1. Diet_Coke
      Link Parent
      Pretty much not at all. This is a symbolic action that is meant to show the outside world the HK government is trying to work with the protesters, and maybe an attempt to take the wind out of...

      Pretty much not at all. This is a symbolic action that is meant to show the outside world the HK government is trying to work with the protesters, and maybe an attempt to take the wind out of their sails at home. The protesters have five key demands, including universal suffrage, independent bodies to handle police brutality cases, and a release of anyone arrested for protesting. Withdrawal of the extradition bill is probably the easiest one to have met and should have been done already.

      5 votes