Hong Kong to announce suspension of extradition law amendments later on Saturday - reports
Beijing, Jun 15 (Sputnik/UNI) The authorities of Hong Kong will announce a suspension of the bill amending extradition legislation later on Saturday in the wake of mass protests against it in the Chinese autonomous territory, local media have reported.
South China Morning Post reported, citing sources, that Chinese officials in charge of the Hong Kong affairs from Beijing had met in the city of Shenzhen to discuss the solution to the crisis over the bill, which critics believe would allow the government to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong.
The bill, if adopted, would empower the Hong Kong authorities to extradite suspects to various jurisdictions, including mainland China, without any bilateral agreements, which are currently required for it.
The Chinese news outlet emphasized that at the meeting in Shenzhen, the officials discussed the pros and contras of suspending the bill or pushing it through the parliament, but they did not raise the issue of completely withdrawing the amendments.
The outlet added that Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the chief executive of Hong Kong, held a meeting with key city administration officials late on Friday to discuss the options, too. Another meeting is expected to be held on Saturday.
A senior pro-government politician told South China Morning Post that high-ranked officials would meet with pro-government lawmakers later in the day to provide details on the reasoning behind the bill suspension.
"After studying the matter in the last two days, I announce that we will pause the amendment," Lam said later in the day as quoted by the media outlet.
According to Lam, there will be no time frame for resumption of the second reading of the bill.
"Many people we disappointed and saddened. I was also saddened and felt regret. We will sincerely and humbly accept criticisms and improve," she added.
The Hong Kong chief executive stressed that it was her decision to suspend the bill without any pressure.
"This decision was made by me. On Thursday and Friday I met a lot of people, including community leaders, and made this decision. I informed Beijing about it and they respected and supported it. It was not an order from Beijing," she said.
A mass protest against the bill, involving hundreds of thousands of people, took place last Sunday and was followed by Wednesday’s rallies that turned violent and left around 80 people injured. Another demonstration is reportedly expected to be held on the upcoming Sunday.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, has blamed western politicians for instigating the protests.