After more than a week of combating a hostile government policy, a victory for democracy was finally achieved in Hong Kong.
Local media reported that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the government will suspend the controversial amendments process to current law that could give local officials authority to extradite criminals. The statute under consideration known as the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance has been temporarily shelved.
Lam made it clear that the decision was a direct result of the massive protest effort undertaken by Hong Kong residents. “As a responsible government, we have to maintain law and order on the one hand, and evaluate the situation for the greatest interest of Hong Kong, including restoring calmness in society as soon as possible and avoiding any more injuries to law enforcement officers and citizens,” Lam said.
Over the past week, millions took to the streets to protest the extradition ordinance. Numbers like these had been seen five years earlier during demonstrations organized by the Umbrella movement.
Still, the victory for democracy in Hong Kong is not yet complete. Authorities have not abandoned the proposed legislation entirely. Lam states that the negative reception by Hong Kongers was due to failures on her part in “communication and explanation.” As far as Lam is concerned, the extradition ordinance is still on the agenda. “We have no intention to set a deadline for this work and promise to report to and consult members of the legislative council panel on security before we decide on the next step forward,” she said.
It is for this reason that protests in the semi-autonomous city-state are continuing in full force. Demonstrators are demanding not only the complete rejection of extradition, but also the resignation of Chief Executive Lam.