In a press conference held at 3pm on June 15, 2019, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced that she has decided to shelve indefinitely the controversial extradition bill that was the cause of the biggest civil protests in Hong Kong since 2014. Widely seen as a move endorsed by Beijing to restore calm to Hong Kong, Lam apologised for the government’s failure to convince and reassure Hong Kongers but as of 6.15pm, Jimmy Sham, a leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, has announced that a mass protest was still in place for Sunday. Sham echoed the dissatisfaction of Hong Kong protesters on the announcement of the shelving of the bill and called on Lam to apologise for the use of batons, tear gas and rubber bullets by the police on protesters during street protests in Queensway, Admiralty, earlier in the week.
Lam defended the actions of the police in her remarks to the press this afternoon and said the extradition bill would not be withdrawn completely as she still wanted another chance to convince the people of the need for the bill.
Lam was repeatedly queried on whether she would resign but she side stepped the questions by reiterating Beijing’s support and confidence in her judgement.
In the wake of this week’s events, U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus had expressed concern over the independent status of Hong Kong’s judiciary and with only the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 protecting Hong Kong from the U.S trade war with China, the shelving of the extradition bill will go some way towards stabilising investors’ confidence in Hong Kong and the territory’s status as a free port