This article originally appeared on VICE Asia
The contentious extradition bill that sparked Hong Kong’s biggest political crisis in decades is “dead”, according to embattled leader Carrie Lam. It was Lam’s pro-Beijing government who originally put forth the bill—which would have introduced laws allowing China to extradite people from Hong Kong to the mainland—but at a press conference this afternoon, following weeks of heated protests and mass demonstrations in the city’s streets, Lam announced that “there is no such plan. The bill is dead”.
The bill has not officially been withdrawn, however, with Lam instead choosing to use a Cantonese phrase to describe the proposal as “reaching the end of its life”, The Guardian reports. Critics have alleged that she’s merely reasserting her announcement from last month, when the government suspended the bill in the wake of violent protests.
“‘Officially dead’ is not a legal or political term. So it’s still unclear whether it is withdrawn, and we can only assume it is not since she still has not said those words,” said Lokman Tsui, who teaches journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Taking to Twitter, Lokman further accused Lam of “playing a pr game”, and said that “if it's ‘dead’ for all purposes, then why not just say the words and officially withdraw it?”
“What I said today is not very different from before, but maybe people want to hear a very firm response… the bill has actually died,” Lam said. “So people won’t need to worry that there will be renewed discussions on the bill in the current legislature.
“We suspended it and we have no time table, we reiterate that when the current legislature ends, i.e. July next year, it will be automatically expired.”
Lam has also neglected to resign from office, which was another primary demand of the protesters.
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