Decision met with mixed feelings . . .
After 13 weeks of protests, reactions to the Hong Kong government’s full withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill have been mixed. Chief Executive Carrie Lam, meeting only one of the protesters’ five demands, made the decision on Wednesday to officially withdraw the bill in an effort to ease tensions. But protesters described the move as “too little, too late” and have now adopted the slogan, “five key demands, not one less.” Protests are planned for the weekend at the airport and in other districts, including Mong Kok and Prince Edward. The four remaining demands include an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, amnesty for protesters, an end to categorizing the protests as riots, and universal suffrage.
Restoring confidence . . .
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, stated that China “unswervingly safeguards” the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and fully backs the Hong Kong government to “end the violence and chaos.” Merkel called for dialogue and stressed that a peaceful resolution is needed. In an attempt to restore confidence overseas, the Hong Kong government launched an advertisement campaign in Australia to reassure investors that the city is stable and the economy is still strong.
The clock is ticking . . .
While critics question whether the Hong Kong government’s softened stance is enough to pacify protesters, experts note that as China’s National Day on October 1 approaches, the Hong Kong protests may overshadow celebrations planned for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Carrie Lam in a leaked audio suggested that although Beijing would not want to see its national holiday tarnished, it has not imposed a deadline and is willing to play a long-term game with the protesters.