Is Lam’s Withdrawal of the Hong Kong Extradition Law ‘Too Little, Too Late?’

Is Lam’s Withdrawal of the Hong Kong Extradition Law ‘Too Little, Too Late?’
A man watches the television as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam makes an announcement on the extradition bill, in Hong Kong, Sept. 4, 2019 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

Hoping to “allay public concerns,” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday announced the full withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill that sparked months of protests in the semiautonomous Chinese territory. Despite meeting this key demand of the protesters, Lam’s retreat was received with skepticism by the city’s pro-democracy activists and lawmakers, suggesting that Hong Kong’s embattled leader is not yet out of the woods.

Lam’s concession came just days after Reuters published details of remarks she made at a closed-door meeting of businesspeople last week, where she admitted to causing “unforgivable havoc.” Lam confessed to the gathering that the extradition bill was her doing, “not something instructed, coerced by the central government,” and that she would quit if she could.

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