Christian Hong Kong protester 'fed up with Carrie Lam's wordplay' on extradition Bill

Police stand in front of the Legislative Council building a day after it was stormed by anti-extradition Bill protesters(Photo: Reuters)

A Christian activist who was at the forefront of the pro-democracy Umbrella Protests in Hong Kong has strongly crticised Chief Executive Carrie Lam after she said that the controversial extradition Bill was "dead".

The extradition Bill has caused weeks of protests, at times turning violent, with protesters last week storming the legislative building. 

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has come under intense pressure to withdraw the Bill, which would allow people accused of certain crimes to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Many citizens of the Special Administrative Region fear the Bill will erode their freedom to criticise China and encroach on their judicial independence.

A degree of autonomy was part of the arrangements agreed between China and Britain at the time of the 1997 handover, and the 'one country, two systems' principle has been fiercely guarded by the people of Hong Kong. 

At a press conference on Tuesday, Mrs Lam said that the Bill was "dead" and had been a "total failure" for the Kong Kong government, but she stopped short of announcing its withdrawal, angering protesters further.

"But there are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council," Ms Lam told reporters.

"So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead."

Joshua Wong, a Christian and Secretary General of the pro-democracy movement Demosisto, said it was a "ridiculous lie to the people of Hong Kong" to call the Bill "dead" while it remains in the legislative programme. 

He said he was "fed up with Carrie Lam's wordplay" and that she should invoke article 64 of the Rules and Procedures to formally withdraw the Bill.

"But today she still refused to promise a formal 'withdrawal' despite public outcry, has proved that Carrie Lam is a habitual liar," he said. 

Mr Wong said that the Chief Executive "has to make it clear" that the Bill will not be initiated again during her term. 

"She has responded none of the public demands," he continued in a statement posted to Twitter.

He called on Mrs Lam to stop the prosecution of activists who have taken part in the protests and to allow a free election.

"Our demand is free election because all governance crisis stems from the political inquality," he said. 

The Catholic Archdiocese of Hong Kong has also said that the Bill should be completely withdrawn.

"While the government has made clear that the extradition bill has already been 'suspended', we still opt for it to make an explicit public statement that the bill has been 'withdrawn', to meet the strong demand of the general public," it previously stated.

Other Church leaders have spoken in support of the protesters but not violent means to achieve their aims. 

The Colloquium of Six Religious Leaders of Hong Kong has appealed to protesters to return to peaceful means. 

"We call on the people of Hong Kong to boycott any act that undermines the law and harms peace, and any violence that harms others, and we call on all to express their views in a self-denying, rational and peaceful manner," they said in an open letter.

"We call on the government and people with different positions and opinions to lay down their attachments, carefully reflect on their views, listen to the voices of others, and establish effective communication channels as soon as possible, and communicate in a sincere manner.

"We believe that any protest should not be contrary to the wellbeing of the people of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is our homeland. Insisting on our different viewpoints will only tear the fabric of society. It will not help solve the current situation and goes against the wellbeing of the people of Hong Kong." 

The House of Bishops of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui - the Anglican Church in Hong Kong - said the SAR government was responsible for the unrest after "ignoring" the concerns of citizens.

"We are strongly against using violence against violence because it will cause more physical injuries and mental trauma as well as hatred," the bishops said.

"The church is determined to say 'no' to violence. We hope all people, especially Christians, would involve in social movements and in maintaining law and order on the basis of love and peace that can only be learned by giving up the anger, resentment, exclusion, and self-righteousness in our heart." 

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