Beijing-backed Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to apologise to protesters in person3 min read

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Beijing-backed Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam apologises to protesters AGAIN after being called a ‘liar’ by demonstrators who demand she step down over extradition bill

  • City’s embattled leader Carrie Lam apologised today, this time in person
  • Protesters rejected a brief government statement she put out on Sunday
  • Sunday’s mass protest against the extradition bill drew nearly two million people
  • However sources say she is unlikely to accept demands to resign or scrap the bill

Hong Kong’s leader today apologised to the public a second time over a controversial extradition law that sparked mass demonstrations.

‘I offer my most sincere apology to each and every Hong Kong citizen,’ Chief Executive Carrie Lam said during a press conference. ‘This incident has made me realise that I have to do better.’

The apology came after protesters rejected a brief government statement she put out on Sunday following a large-scale march, which organisers said drew nearly two million people.

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However, the Beijing-appointed leader is unlikely to unlikely to accept demands to resign or scrap the bill altogether, a source familiar with the situation told South China Morning Post.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam is set to hold a press conference today, according to the South China Morning Post, after protesters rejected a brief government statement she put out on Sunday following a large-scale march, which organisers said drew nearly two million people

Chief Executive Carrie Lam is set to hold a press conference today, according to the South China Morning Post, after protesters rejected a brief government statement she put out on Sunday following a large-scale march, which organisers said drew nearly two million people

Lam announced on Saturday that the bill would be suspended, in an apparent bid to quell further unrest and mass demonstrations.

In a private meeting with a group of educators on Monday, Lam said her decision to suspend the contentious bill meant ‘total withdrawal’, and her government would not propose the legal amendments again, RTHK reported. It is unclear if she would make a similar commitment to the public.

Opponents of the extradition bill say that it might be used to send critics of Communist Party rule to the mainland to face vague political charges, possible torture and unfair trials. 

A man holds a placard showing Carrie Lam's image with the word 'liar' during a mass protest on June 9

A man holds a placard showing Carrie Lam’s image with the word ‘liar’ during a mass protest on June 9

It is also seen as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong’s freedoms and legal autonomy.

Many Hong Kong residents also were angered over the police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other forceful measures as demonstrators broke through barricades outside the city government’s headquarters during demonstrations on Wednesday, and over Lam’s decision to call the clashes a riot.  

‘It will take a long time for Lam to rebuild her connections with society. It can be done, but it will take time,’ the source told South China Morning Post.  

Hong Kong’s government headquarters reopened on Tuesday morning as the number of protesters gathered outside dwindled to a few dozen.

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Late Monday, police commissioner Stephen Lo held a news conference where he sought to defuse anger over aggressive police tactics during protests last week. He said only five of 15 people arrested during the clashes were charged with rioting.  

For the many teens and 20-somethings who took to the streets, the protests are about far more than an extradition bill. 

They are about preserving the autonomy Hong Kong was promised when Britain ceded its colony to mainland China in 1997, a ‘one-country, two-systems’ arrangement that was supposed to assure Hong Kong separate legal and economic status for 50 years after the handover.

The marchers have drawn inspiration from earlier protests, especially the ‘Umbrella Movement’ of 2014, when tens of thousands of mostly youthful demonstrators staged marches and sit-ins, snarling downtown traffic for weeks to demand a say in the election of Hong Kong’s leader – a demand that ultimately failed. 

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