Both pro-democracy and pro-Beijing legislators characterised Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill as “too little, too late.” Protesters at the Citizens’ Press Conference said applying “band-aid on rotting flesh” months later will not cut it.
Carrie Lam conceded to one of the five key demands of the protest movement which has roiled Hong Kong since June. But protesters are still demanding a fully independent commission of inquiry, amnesty for the arrested, stopping characterisation of protests as “riots” and universal suffrage.
Claudia Mo, legislator and convenor of the pro-democracy camp said, “It took her three months to officially use the word ‘withdraw.’ This is too little, too late. Hong Kong’s wounds and scars are still bleeding.”
Before her video announcement, Lam briefed all 43 pro-establishment legislators, Hong Kong deputies to the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, at Government House. Pro-democracy lawmakers were not invited.
After the meeting, pro-Beijing legislator Paul Tse Wai-chun said the measures are “too little, too late. Why didn’t Lam withdraw it earlier?” adding that the crux of the political crisis was no longer the bill, but tensions between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
Demonstrators on social-media channels argued that public concern had shifted towards police brutality or excessive use of force on protesters and ordinary citizens, indiscriminate arrests and prosecution. Lam had to address these issues squarely or risk continuing the turmoil.