Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has formally withdrawn the controversial extradition bill that sparked over three-months of protests in the territory.
Lam made the announcement in an internal meeting with pro-establishment lawmakers and Hong Kong delegates from China’s National People’s Congress, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The South China Morning Post had reported that Lam would announce the formal withdrawal of the proposed today, citing unnamed sources. Other local media outlets had also reported on a possible withdrawal.
The withdrawal of the controversial bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China, was one of the main demands of pro-democracy protestors who have held demonstrations in the territory since June, plunging it into its worst political crisis in decades.
Protesters regarded the bill as an attack on the freedoms afforded to the territory under the “one country, two systems” framework that affords it some autonomy.
Lam had previously said the bill was “dead” but had refused to confirm whether it had been officially withdrawn.
Joshua Wong, who led the student pro-democracy protests in the territory in 2014, said on his Facebook page the bill’s withdrawal was “Too little, too late.” Wong was charged with unlawfully organising a public meeting last week as authorities tried to clamp down on the protests.
At least 1,183 people have been arrested during the protests so far. Demonstrators have called for an independent inquiry into police conduct over the unrest.
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