Last week Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam finally proposed to do what she should have done three months ago: to formally withdraw the controversial extradition bill that has plunged Hong Kong into its worst political crisis since the handover to China 22 years ago.Yet Hong Kongers say it is far too little, far too late, and protesters pledge to keep going until she meets their other demands, which include an independent inquiry into police brutality and genuine democratic reform.Tapes and a transcript also emerged of remarks Lam made to a group of businesspeople in which she appeared to say that if she had a choice, she would “quit.” She also observed that her room for maneuver is “very, very limited” because Hong Kong’s crisis has been “elevated … to a national level.”So should we feel sorry for Lam who, four years ago, declared that she knew she “has a place reserved in heaven”?In many ways, this crisis is entirely Lam’s making. Firstly, she should never have proposed such a badly thought-out, unnecessary and dangerous piece of legislation as the extradition bill, which if implemented would have ripped up the “firewall” put in place at the handover between Hong Kong’s legal system, which is based on the rule of law, fair trial and an independent judiciary, and mainland China’s, which is one of “rule by law,” a politicized judiciary, widespread torture, disappearances, forced televised confessions and executions. Had the bill passed, it would have destroyed Hong Kong.
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