Hong Kong’s Beijing leader said on Monday that she had no plans to scrap a controversial plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, a day after huge crowds came out to oppose the proposal.
“This is a very important piece of legislation that will help to uphold justice and also ensure that Hong Kong will fulfil her international obligations in terms of cross-boundary and transnational crimes,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters.
The city government is pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow changes to any jurisdiction with which it does not already have a treaty – including mainland China.
The protests has forced Hong Kong into a new political crisis, heaping pressure on Hong Lam’s administration and her official backers in Beijing.
On Monday, the protests were strongly criticized by an editorial in the state run newspaper China Daily, arguing that “some Hong Kong residents have been hoodwinked by the opposition camp and their foreign allies into supporting the anti-extradition campaign”.
The paper argues that “any fair-minded person” would support the “long overdue” bill meant “to plug legal loopholes and prevent Hong Kong from becoming a safe haven for criminals”.
After Sunday’s mass protests tapered off, violence broke out between some protesters and police. At least three officers and a journalist were injured, according to police.
Lam denied ignoring the huge public backlash and said her administration had already made major concessions to ensure the city’s unique freedoms would be protected and that the bill’s human rights safeguards met international standards.
“I and my team have not ignored any views expressed on this very important piece of legislation. We have been listening and listening very attentively,” she said.