Carrie Lam signals end to extradition bill

The area outside the chief executive’s office building around 7am

The area outside the chief executive’s office building around 7am

Many demonstrators were clad in black T-shirts, and some wore face masks, in protest against the firing of tear gas and rubber bullets on young demonstrators surrounding the city's legislature by the Hong Kong police, which injured around 80 people.

The bill, which would allow for fugitives from Beijing's courts residing in Hong Kong to be extradited to China, was put on hold Saturday, but then 2 million people took to the streets Sunday, demanding for the bill to be permanently scrapped and for Lam to resign, which she did not offer Tuesday.

Lam issued her "most honest apology" to the people of Hong Kong for her inadequacies in handling the extradition bill saga, but did not address the two main demands of the protesters - the withdrawal of the proposals from the Legislative Council and to step down.

That statement, in which Lam said she was suspending the extradition bill, failed to dampen Sunday's turnout and may even have led more to join the protest.

The idea of losing face - being publicly embarrassed - is a major cultural touchstone in China.

"She refused to address the demands of the entire Hong Kong community", Mo said, noting that Lam herself admitted that the remaining three years of her term would likely be "very, very hard".

Lam vowed to do her utmost to rebuild trust among the people of Hong Kong after the extradition bill controversy.

Mrs Lam suspended the bill last week, but Sunday saw the biggest protests yet, with organisers saying more than two million people turned out.

Lam, asked repeatedly whether she would quit, refused to do so, saying there remained important work ahead in the next three years, which would bring her to the end of her current five-year term of office.

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One of the protesters, a man surnamed Chui, said that he had boycott his public office job for two days to take part in the ongoing protests.

The vast majority of Hong Kong residents fled persecution, political chaos or poverty and starvation on the Chinese mainland.

Lo was speaking in an open dialogue in Taipei with Hong Kong's Lam Wing Kee (林榮基), the former owner of Causeway Bay Books, who fled to Taiwan in late April for fear of being sent to China if Hong Kong passes the extradition bill. It had denounced expressions of support for the Hong Kong protesters as interference in the city - and China's - internal affairs. "Should that happen, the government will accept the reality", she said. "I hope I can secure the support from the public", she said in response to demands for her resignation.

Lam's apology was immediately and ostentatiously accepted by her political supporters and pro-Beijing politicians, and just as quickly dismissed by protest leaders, who denounced her as insincere, duplicitous, and too badly damaged to continue as chief executive.

"Many Hong Kongers said they are now under darkness, but are hoping to return to the sunshine".

But it did not satisfy the many people in Hong Kong who are anxious that the law would fatally damage the city's economy and society, by allowing both residents and visitors to be sent for trial in China's opaque, Communist party-controlled courts. On the question of the term "riots", she deferred to Hong Kong's police commissioner, who on Monday, back pedaled by allaying concerns that anyone who showed-up to the protest were deemed rioters.

Joshua Wong, the student leader of the Umbrella Movement democracy protest in 2014 who was released from prison on Monday, said it was time for the pro-establishment camp to pay the price and they should start worrying about the result of the coming election.

Lam said that his Taiwanese visa expires next month, "but I know I can not go back to Hong Kong".

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