China rejected HK plan to withdraw bill: sources

31-Aug-2019 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:02 AM Print This Post

China recently rejected a formal submission from Hong Kong for a “full withdrawal” of an unpopular extradition bill.

That’s according to three government sources who spoke exclusively with Reuters.

The bill is a key issue that’s sparked months of protests in the city.

China’s rejection represents concrete evidence of Beijing’s control over the Hong Kong government’s response to the protests.

It also calls into question China’s promise that Hong Kong would have a high degree of autonomy.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE CARRIE LAM, SAYING:

“I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”

Deadbut not ‘withdrawn.’

Lam has stopped short of using that term, only saying work on the bill has stopped.

The protests didn’t stop. They’ve lasted twelve straight weeks.

In press conferences, Lam has not been clear on whether she has the autonomy to withdraw the bill herself.

But one source told Reuters, Lam herself has said that her hands are tied and that Beijing wouldn’t allow her to withdraw the bill.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS’ SENIOR CORRESPONDENT JAMES POMFRET (OFF-CAMERA), SAYING:

“Do you have the autonomy or not to withdraw the extradition bill? You have not answered the question, you have evaded the question.”

Protesters’ concerns have grown over the last few months, outlined in a list of five demands, including calls for fully democratic elections.

Protesters are also demanding a probe into excessive use of police force during the protests.

One source said that the demands were outlined in Lam’s proposal to Beijing, and that even President Xi Jinping was aware of it.

Beijing rejected all five demands.

In recent weeks there have been signs of Beijing taking a harder line, with officials likening the protests to ‘terrorism’, paramilitary police conducting drills near the border and pressuring Hong Kong companies to suspend staff that supported the protests.

Lam’s office did not comment directly on whether it has made a request to withdraw the bill.

China’s central government also did not respond to requests for comment.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/china-rejected-hk-plan-withdraw-081731626.html

 


Category: Hong Kong

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