Chief Executive Carrie Lam is set to announce on Wednesday that the controversial extradition bill will be formally withdrawn, according to local media reports citing sources.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam. File Photo: Carrie Lam, via Facebook.

Lam will meet with pro-Beijing lawmakers, Hong Kong deputies to the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at government house at 4pm according to RTHK, Now TV, Apple Daily and HK01.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Ip told HKFP that the bill’s withdrawal is “likely,” though she has not been told what the meeting will be about.

The Hang Seng Index – the city’s stock-market index – jumped to 26,515, representing a climb of over 3.1 per cent.

The ill-fated bill would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to China, which lacks rights protections. Since June, large-scale peaceful protests have morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy, alleged police brutality, surveillance and other community grievances.

Lam initially axed the proposal on June 15, and then – on July 9 – she declared the bill “dead.” However, she has never enacted any legislative mechanism to withdraw it.

Photo: Tam Ming Keung, USP United Social Press.

Some democrats have stood their ground in reaction to the news, with lawmaker Eddie Chu posting on Facebook: “If [the news is true], then we will change our slogan to ‘Four key demands, we will accept nothing less.’”

Meanwhile, lawmaker Alvin Yeung wrote: “The so-called concessions from Carrie Lam are more white terror – arresting and beating up people all the time.”

Agnes Chow from the political group Demosisto, who was recently arrested over the recent protests, wrote on Facebook: “Our five core demands. Do not forget the companions we lost, do not forget our comrades who were injured. If we give up, Hong Kong will die.”

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

On the Reddit-like forum LIHKG – a hub for the protest movement – one user wrote that the government’s “most devious tactic” was to announce the withdrawal of the bill: “Even if the government announces the bill is withdrawn today, we cannot see this as a response to our demands. It is all just a tactic!” the user wrote, in a post that received over 1,300 upvotes.

“We need to clearly tell the government and the public: it is too late!”

Demonstrators have been demanding a complete withdrawal of the bill, a fully independent probe into police behaviour, amnesty for those arrested, universal suffrage and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.” 

More to follow.

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Holmes Chan

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.