What Happened: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on June 15 that she was indefinitely suspending the extradition bill that had led to mass and occasionally violent protests over the past week, the South China Morning Post reported. Lam admitted that her government had failed to sufficiently communicate the bill's intent to the public, but she maintained that the bill was still needed to address loopholes in Hong Kong's law and that she had not withdrawn the bill. China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing released a statement supporting Lam's decision.
Why It Matters: Suspending the unpopular extradition bill will give the Hong Kong government more time to deliberate a path forward to try to ease public, business and international concerns. The government has until July 2020 to reintroduce the bill. Despite Lam's announcement, protests scheduled for June 16 will go ahead as planned. Protesters want the bill withdrawn; some have also called on Lam to resign.
Background: The Hong Kong government introduced the extradition bill in February and fast-tracked the review process, sparking public anger that culminated in hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens turning out to protest the bill on June 9. If passed, the bill would allow Hong Kong citizens and foreign businesses and individuals to be sent to mainland China for trial.
- What to Watch for as the Hong Kong Protests Unfold (June 12, 2019)
- 1 Country, 2 Systems and 20 Years (June 30, 2017)
- A Predictable Predicament for Hong Kong (March 24, 2017)