1. News

Hong Kong government withdraws bill that sparked protests

Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press


Published Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:17AM EDT


Last Updated Wednesday, October 23, 2019 5:03AM EDT

Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday withdrew an unpopular extradition bill that sparked months of chaotic protests that have since morphed right into a marketing campaign for better democratic change.

Secretary for Security John Lee advised the semi-autonomous Chinese metropolis’s legislature that the government had suspended the bill as a result of it had resulted in “conflicts in society.”

In order to obviously spell out the government’s place, “I formally announce the withdrawal of the bill,” Lee advised lawmakers. Pro-democracy lawmakers instantly tried to query him however he refused to reply.

There are not any indicators that the withdrawal of the bill would dampen the protests, now of their fifth month. The rallies have snowballed into the town’s greatest political disaster in a long time, increasing to calls for for common suffrage and an investigation into allegations of police abuses, most not too long ago together with the spraying of a mosque and bystanders with high-pressure blue-dyed water from an city assault car.

The long-expected scrapping of the bill was overshadowed by the drama surrounding the discharge from a Hong Kong jail of the homicide suspect on the coronary heart of the extradition case controversy.

Chan Tong-kai, who accomplished a separate sentence for cash laundering, advised reporters after his launch that he wished to show himself in to authorities in Taiwan, the place he is wished for killing his pregnant girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing.

Taiwan introduced Tuesday it was prepared to ship a delegation to carry Chan again to the self-ruled island for trial, however Hong Kong rejected the provide, saying the suspect needs to be allowed to fly unaccompanied to show himself in.

The controversy is rooted within the unwillingness of Hong Kong to acknowledge the legitimacy of the authorized our bodies in Taiwan, which communist leaders in Beijing think about a breakaway province.

China has refused all contact with the administration of Taiwan’s straight elected President Tsai Ing-wen over her refusal to endorse Beijing’s stance that the island is Chinese territory awaiting annexation. That seems to have compelled Hong Kong to reject co-operation with Taiwan over Taipei’s insistence on a “mutual legal assistance” cope with Hong Kong that would require their establishments to cope with one another on an equal foundation.

Tsai herself weighed in Wednesday on the Chan case, emphasizing that, though each the alleged perpetrator and the sufferer are from Hong Kong, Taiwan was prepared to place Chan on trial if Hong Kong does not.

However, she mentioned there was no chance of Chan merely catching a flight to Taipei and insisted Taiwan wouldn’t sacrifice its sovereignty in dealing with the matter.

“I would like to explain that in this case, the murderer is a wanted subject in Taiwan. He is already a wanted criminal suspect in Taiwan with a warrant out for his arrest,” Tsai mentioned throughout a go to to the Taiwanese-held island of Kinmen simply off the Chinese coast.

“Therefore, regarding this case, there is no issue of free travel or just being a backpacker. There is only the matter of arrest and no question of simply turning oneself in,” Tsai mentioned.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council mentioned permitting a homicide suspect to fly on his personal would ignore passenger security and that Hong Kong’s strategy would indulge Chan and make Hong Kong “a criminal paradise where murderers can walk around.”

Chan, 20, returned to Hong Kong alone final 12 months after travelling to Taipei with Poon on trip. Her physique was discovered later packed in a suitcase and dumped in a area, whereas Chan made off together with her financial institution card, cell phone and different valuables.

“I am willing, for my impulsive actions and things I did wrong, to surrender myself, to return to Taiwan to face sentencing and stand trial,” Chan advised reporters outdoors jail earlier than being whisked away by van to an unique gated group past the media’s attain

Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam had repeatedly cited Chan’s case as justifying the proposed amendments to the extradition laws, saying he couldn’t be despatched to the self-ruled island as a result of there was no extradition settlement in place.

But the proposal stoked widespread fears residents of Hong Kong, which has maintained its personal impartial courts since reverting from British to Chinese rule in 1997, can be put vulnerable to being despatched into mainland China’s Communist Party-controlled judicial system. Lam was pressured to announce final month that she would drop the bill within the face of fierce opposition.

The protests have drawn worldwide consideration and Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal turned the newest to weigh in. He defended Houston Rockets basic supervisor Daryl Morey, whose swiftly deleted tweet supporting the motion set off a firestorm with Beijing, which tried to clamp down on the NBA.

“One of our best values here in America is free speech, we’re allowed to say what we want to say and we are allowed to speak up about on injustices and that’s just how it goes,” O’Neal mentioned on a TNT pregame present forward of the season’s opening evening Tuesday. “Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say That’s not right’ and that’s what he did.”

——

Associated Press video journalist Taijing Wu in Taipei, Taiwan contributed to this report.

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