In Hong Kong, after their 14th week of demonstrations of violence, the time to reconcile differences between protestors and their government has come. In April a proposal of an enormously controversial extradition bill was brought to the table in which all criminal suspects were to be extradited to mainland China. The uproar from Hong Kong’s residents in regards to the bill was mighty, creating a movement like no other the protestors finally reached their leader Carrie Lam. The people of Hong Kong feared their legal freedoms would be undermined and that it could be used to intimidate or silence the voices of Beijing. Although not everything is settled, it does seem to be that the voices of the citizens of Hong Kong will be heard and changes will be made. Hong Kong was given back to China in 1997 after having the British rule for more than 150 years. It has continued semi-autonomous following a “one country, two systems” system, but some fret China is seeking higher control.
Today in Hong Kong Carrie Lam addressed the city in a televised announcement which entailed the full withdrawal of the extradition bill. Putting an end to the bill was only one of the five demands from the protestors, who are also striving for full democracy in the city. Lam also came to agreements with other actions that seemed to be intended to soothe the unrest. She stated that she chose two senior officials to join an existing inquiry into police regarding police brutality against protestors, yet another critical demand of the activists. This past Monday an audiotape of Carrie Lam was leaked. On the recording, you can hear The Leader blaming herself for this political crisis and stating is it unforgivable of her to have created such havoc. A portion of the protestors declined Ms. Lam’s announcement and said they would continue to protest.
In the announcement video of Ms. Lam, she stated that the protests had “shocked and saddened the Hong Kong people” and continuing the violence would further “pushing Hong Kong towards a highly dangerous situation. No matter what discontentment the people have towards the government or the society, violence is not the way to resolve problems,” she added. Ms. Lam also assured that she and other senior officials would be visiting communities in Hong Kong to talk to the people directly about their concerns. “A positive step forward,” is how Pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Lp described the announcement adding, “it won’t pacify everybody, but hopefully it would clear remaining doubt in the minds of some of the peaceful protesters.” She suggests that the anger that is driving the protestors is a wide range of issues from the vast wealth gap, political system, and housing conditions.
One of pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong does not agree with the leader’s announcement he took to Twitter.
There have been speculations that Carrie Lam did not have the power to put a stop to this nor to agree to any of the demonstrators’ demands, because Beijing has been the ones in charge the whole time. It could be that she has been given the approval to withdraw the bill to try to prove that Hong Kong’s decision-making remains intact. But the longer it has become for the extradition bill dispute to be fixed; the more extensive the demands from the protestors have become. Many activists now say they will continue to hold assemblies without a truly confident inquiry into the Hong Kong police violence and universal suffrage in this region.