Sun, 21 Jul 2019

Hong Kong, Jun 15 (ANI): The embattled government of Hong Kong on Saturday is expected to announce a suspension to the efforts to pass a controversial China extradition bill, in an apparent bid to quell further unrest and mass demonstrations that have been building up pressure on the city's government since a week.

Authorities told CNN that Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, will give a public statement at 3 pm (local time).

Pro-democracy lawmaker Alvin Yeung was quoted as saying that Lam is expected to use the phrase "postpone" with regard to the bill. The pro-democracy camp, of which Yeung is a member, understands that there currently is no timetable in place for the resumption of talks on the bill.

A senior pro-Beijing lawmaker also confirmed CNN that Lam would announce a delay of the bill, but said it was not being shelved.

According to South China Morning Post, Lam along with other Beijing officials in charge of the city's affairs held meetings in neighbouring Shenzhen to seek a solution to a crisis that has made international headlines.

Pausing the bill will raise questions over Lam's future, CNN reported. Before she became Chief Executive in 2017, Lam said she would resign "if mainstream opinion makes me no longer able to continue the job."The announcement came after violent clashes erupted between the police and protesters on Wednesday, after thousands of mostly young people surrounded the city's government headquarters, forcing legislators to postpone a debate on the bill.

It was latest in the series of public protests against the bill, which critics fear could be used to extradite residents to mainland China for political or inadvertent business offences.

On June 9, more than one million people took to the streets in a peaceful march against the legislation, about one in seven of the city's population, a potential repeat of that demonstration is planned for this Sunday.

A spokesman for the Civil Human Rights Front was also quoted as saying that the march would go ahead despite news the bill may be paused.

The Democratic Party, in a statement, said the march would start at 2:30 pm (local time) on Sunday in Victoria Park. Protesters will wear black and demand the bill to be completely withdrawn and Lam to step down.

Pro-democracy figures fear that the bill would lead to the erosion of civil rights in Hong Kong, including freedom of speech and rule of law.

But Lam has said that the bill was necessary to ensure that Hong Kong wouldn't become a sanctuary for fugitives running from justice in mainland China. (ANI)

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