As many Hongkongers continue to insist that the government should withdraw the extradition bill completely instead of just putting it in cold storage, the head of the largest pro-establishment political party in the city said her group supporters will understand if the administration does scrap the legislation for good.
Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), which is also the largest political party in the legislature, told a TVB program on Sunday that if the government bows to the protesters’ demand, she believes DAB supporters will show understanding and accept the move.
The DAB chief agreed that the recent incidents showed that the move to merely suspend the bill was neither practical nor focused. As it is known widely that the work pertaining to the bill has come to a stop, a lot of people are asking why the government insists on calling it a suspension, she said.
Lee noted that DAB was not blindly supporting the proposed law changes, pointing out that the party had suggested adding more safeguards to the bill after the massive June 9 street protest, which the organizers claimed to have drawn the participation of more than a million people.
DAB supporters would understand if the government withdraws the bill for the purpose of mending social rifts, Lee said, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The lawmaker also advised the government on TV that it should consider conducting a dialogue with protesters, as doing so will definitely be better than having further confrontations with them.
Lee suggested that the dialogue be set up through people in the religious sector, and that it should be conducted after calm is restored in society. In other comments, the DAB chief said it could take more than one round of dialogue to resolve the problems.
As to whether some politically accountable government officials should step down to assume responsibility for the disturbances caused by the bill, Lee said the government had good intentions when it took up the plan to amend the law.
Even if the government mishandled the legislative push, it doesn’t warrant calls for the politically accountable officials to step down, she said.
But Lee admitted that the government is likely to face more difficulties in governance in the future.
In other comments, she said that reshuffling the Executive Council won’t necessarily resolve the problems.
Meanwhile, Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole deputy to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, called on the public to stop being entangled with the issue of suspension of the bill. The bill’s suspension effectively amounts to its withdrawal, he suggested.
People should give the Lam administration a chance to correct itself as well as focus on working better for economic development and tackling livelihood issues, Tam said.
Tam said he has never heard anything that would indicate that Beijing has lost confidence in Lam.
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