Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is expected to announce on Saturday that the controversial extradition bill will be paused or suspended. The government says she will meet the media at the Central Government Office at 3pm.
Pro-Beijing paper Sing Tao Daily reported that Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng met Lam in Shenzhen on Friday evening. Lam then had a cabinet meeting with her top officials at 10:30pm, lasting until midnight.
Lam will meet pro-Beijing legislators at Government House at noon, TVB reports.
All papers stated that the bill would not be “withdrawn,” but only “paused” or “suspended.” On Saturday, Lam also met with individual Executive Council members.
In February, Hong Kong proposed legal amendments to allow it to handle case-by-case extradition requests from territories with no prior agreements – most notably China and Taiwan. Lawyers, journalists, foreign politicians and businesses have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections.
Last Sunday, organisers said over a million turned up to protest the bill and – on Wednesday – occupation-style street protests ended in violence around government headquarters as police cleared the site using tear gas and rubber bullets.
On Friday, pro-establishment figures began to speak up against the bill, including lawmaker Michael Tien: “I don’t understand why [Carrie Lam] is still so adamant about it,” he said. “How do we govern if the pro-establishment camp loses our majority?”
Another protest organised by the Civil Human Rights Front is set to take place on Sunday at 2:30pm.
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