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Hong Kong suspends extradition bill, Beijing says it ‘supports’ decision

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam earlier on Friday suspended the proposed law, which had triggered massive protests, and police retaliation. across the financial hub last week.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2019 20:57 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Hong Kong,Carrie Lam,SAR
In a statement from the central government, quoted by the official news agency, Xinhua, the central government also condemned violent acts in Hong Kong and supported the former British colony’s police.(HT Photo)

The central government on Saturday said it supports Hong Kong’s decision to suspend the implementation of the extradition bill that would allow people from the special administrative region (SAR) to be sent to the Mainland to be tried in court.

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam earlier on Friday suspended the proposed law, which had triggered massive protests, and police retaliation. across the financial hub last week.

In a speech on Saturday afternoon, Lam said: “The government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise, restart our communication with all sectors of society, do more ... work and listen to different views of society”.

“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.

In a statement from the central government, quoted by the official news agency, Xinhua, the central government also condemned violent acts in Hong Kong and supported the former British colony’s police.

“We note that Chief Executive Carrie Lam of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) announced today that the SAR government decided to suspend work on the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019,” the Chinese foreign the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The statement added that Beijing supports, respects and understands the decision.

“The Chinese Central Government expresses its support, respect, and understanding for the SAR government’s decision and will continue its staunch support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the SAR government in governing Hong Kong in accordance with the law and upholding the SAR’s prosperity and stability with people from all sectors,” the statement added.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang reiterated that Hong Kong is “China’s SAR” and its affairs are China’s “internal affairs”.

“I would like to emphasise that Hong Kong is China’s SAR and its affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no interference from any country, organisation or individual,” he said.

“China’s determination to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests and uphold Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability is rock solid,” Geng added.

Beijing governs Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” model under which the city enjoys many freedoms not available to Mainland citizens including the freedom of the press and to gather.

Critics, however, say those freedoms are gradually being eroded.

“Since the return of Hong Kong, the policy of “one country, two systems” and Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy has been faithfully implemented. The rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents have been fully guaranteed according to law. The facts are there for all to see. Maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability serves not only China’s interests, but also the interests of all countries across the world,” Geng said.

First Published: Jun 15, 2019 20:57 IST