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Hong Kong will withdraw the controversial extradition bill in attempt to end protests

Hong Kong will withdraw the controversial extradition bill in attempt to end protests
[Photo: Flickr user Studio Incendo]

In a surprising move, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has announced that she will withdraw the controversial extradition bill that has resulted in months of protests in the special administrative region, reports the BBC.

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The bill was originally introduced in April and would have allowed suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial. However, protesters and activists feared the bill would allow Beijing to more easily punish and silence political dissidents in Hong Kong.

Due to mounting public concern, by June Lam declared the bill “dead” but refused to withdraw it fully. This sparked protests that have continued since then and have seen scores of people arrested, airports come to a standstill, and thousands of people taking to the streets on a daily basis.

In addition to withdrawing the bill, Lam announced that two senior officials would join an existing inquiry into the conduct of police during the protests. That pledge stops short of another demand of the protesters: to launch an independent inquiry into police conduct against protesters.

Announcing the withdrawal of the bill, Lam said, “Currently, stopping the violence is the top priority, maintaining the law and rebuilding the rules of society. The government will sternly tackle violence and illegal action.”

However, Lam’s moves, while a step in the right direction, haven’t placated many of the protesters, including the protest figurehead Joshua Wong. On Twitter, he said the withdrawal was “too little and too late now” following the death of seven people in the protests.

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