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Hong Kong leader has issued an apology as a result of public’s mass protests

Tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating against the bill, which they claim would allow China to extradite Hong Kong residents to the mainland for political trials.

Recognising the “strong and different views in society” the government said it had stopped work on the new law, without any timetable to restart it, “with a view to restoring calmness in society as soon as possible and avoiding any injuries to any persons”.

HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JUNE 16: Protesters demonstrate against the now-suspended extradition bill on June 16, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Large numbers of protesters rallied on Sunday despite an announcement yesterday by Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam that the controversial extradition bill will be suspended indefinitely. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)
Image:Protesters demonstrating against the extradition bill have been told it will be scrapped

Carrie Lam, the chief executive, admitted “that the deficiencies in the government’s work had led to substantial controversies and disputes in society, causing disappointment and grief among the people”.

“The chief executive apologised to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledged to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public,” her statement added.

Ms Lam had claimed the law would prevent criminals using Hong Kong as a safe haven, however many people believed it would repeal legal protections and freedoms promised by the Chinese government when it took control of the territory in 1997.

According to law, Beijing should abide by the “one country two systems” rule, which promises to respect Hong Kong’s legal autonomy for 50 years.

The U-turn was seen as one of the biggest political moves in the territory’s history, and led many to question Ms Lam’s ability to lead Hong Kong.

Over the past week, hundreds of thousands of people marched in Hong Kong over the bill, with many being met by potentially lethal force in police clashes.

HONG KONG - JUNE 14: People hold up smartphone lights and posters during a "mums protest" against alleged police brutality and the proposed extradition treaty, near the Legislative Council building on June 14, 2019 in Hong Kong. The territory's Legislative Council delayed a second reading of the controversial extradition bill on Thursday after police and protesters clashed outside government buildings as tensions continue over the bill that would allow suspected criminals to be sent to the mainland. An estimated 1 million people took to the streets on Sunday to protest as clashes between demonstrators and the police erupted after the peaceful march and many believe the proposed amendment would erode Hong Kong's legal protections, placing its citizens at risk of extradition to China. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Image:Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Hong Kong

Politician Claudia Mo said: “Democrats in Hong Kong simply cannot accept this suspension decision. Because the suspension is temporary. The pain is still there.”

Bonny Leung, a leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, one of the groups that has helped organise the demonstrations, said: “Hong Kong people have been lied to so many times.”

HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JUNE 15:  Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, speaks during a news conference at Central Government Complex on June 15, 2019 in Hong Kong China. Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced to delay a controversial China extradition bill and halt its progress on Saturday after recent clashes between the police and protesters outside government buildings over the bill that would allow suspected criminals to be sent to the mainland. An estimated 1 million people took to the streets on Sunday to protest against the bill as clashes between demonstrators and the police erupted after the peaceful march and many believe the proposed amendment would erode Hong Kong's legal protections, placing its citizens at risk of extradition to China. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
Image:Ms Lam announced the decision to suspend the bill on Saturday

Across the border in China, the communist-led government issued statements that gave their backing to Ms Lam’s decision to suspend the bill.

Meanwhile, mourners have been laying flowers on the pavement close to where a man lost his life, after seemingly falling to his death from scaffolding on a shopping mall while he was holding a protest banner.

The memorial for the man who died during a protest
Image:The memorial for the man who died during a protest

Emergency workers reportedly tried to cushion the man’s fall, but failed to catch him.

On Saturday, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted his support of Ms Lam’s decision, saying: “Well done HK Government for heeding concerns of the brave citizens who have stood up for their human rights.

“Safeguarding the rights and freedoms in the Sino-British Joint Declaration is the best future for HK and Britain stands behind this legally-binding agreement.”

Source: SKY NEWS



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