Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has proclaimed that the extradition bill is “dead”, but pro-democracy legislators and activists say her words are not enough.
Speaking to media before attending a regular Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Lam also said the government’s work on the bill was a “total failure”.
“There are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council,” the chief executive said.
But she stressed that the “bill is dead”.
Pan-democratic lawmakers, however, called the pronouncement nothing but “playing with words”, noting that Lam showed no sincerity at all and failed to meet the people’s demands, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
On the protesters’ demand for the government to establish an independent commission of inquiry to look into the clashes between protesters and police on June 12, Lam said: “We have all noticed that on Friday last week, the statutory Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) has already unanimously decided that they will conduct a fact-finding study on the events that have taken place during the period from June 9 to July 2, with a view to finding out the facts and providing the true situation to members of the public.”
In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the pan-democrats pointed out that Lam’s refusal to set up an independent commission of inquiry indicated that she was trying to cover up for the police force and its excessive use of force against the protesters.
Claudia Mo Man-ching, convener of the pan-democrats’ meeting group of lawmakers, said since Lam admitted she had made mistakes, she should step down.
Mo also criticized Lam’s arrogant attitude, saying she wants Hongkongers to give her a second chance but refuses to give young people a chance.
People Power legislator Raymond Chan Chi-chuen said the people are already tired of Lam’s penchant for bowing down in a “bit-by-bit” fashion.
He also said even though the extradition bill is dead, “it can still be resurrected” in a new guise.
There is no such a thing as a “dead” bill in the Legislative Council’s Rules of Procedure but only “withdrawn” or “postponed”, said Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan Siu-kin, who believes that the people’s fear will not go away unless the bill is withdrawn.
Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), which organized marches against the extradition bill on June 9, 16 and July 1, said Lam’s use of the word “dead” showed the government ignored the law that is in place.
Sham reiterated the CHRF is not ruling out the possibility of another massive demonstration if Lam continues to ignore the people’s demands.
Political scientist Ma Ngok, an associate professor of government and public administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the responses Lam offered in the past few weeks were basically the same except for some rhetorical differences, which are only “provoking” the public.
Meanwhile, Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the largest political party in the legislature, said Lam’s explanation that the extradition bill is dead would ease some people’s worries.
Lee also suggested that the government set up a task force and use it as a bridge between the government and young people to facilitate communication.
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