Yesterday, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the withdrawal of the extradition bill, the proposed law that sparked months of protests cross the city. This decision came 88 days after June 9, the first of the massive marches, in which Civil Human Rights Front said 1.3 million people participated.
In a pre-recorded video, as well as addressing protesters’ demands one by one, Lam also saw the need to start a dialogue with Hongkongers.
She presented four steps, or “actions” she proposes taking to make that dialogue happen. Here they are.
1 The government will formally withdraw the Bill. The Secretary for Security, John Lee Ka-chiu, will make a formal proposal when the Legislative Council resumes. Lam added in a press conference with the media on Thursday that the sole purpose of this procedure is to withdraw the bill. “The bill will be withdrawn, there will be no debate and no voting,” she said.
2 The government will fully support the work of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC). The IPCC is a government office. When the Hong Kong Police Force looks into complaints made by the public against its members, the IPCC monitors those investigations.
As noted by the UN Human Rights Committee in 2013, the IPCC had limited powers and lacked independence. Its members are all appointed by the Chief Executive. On top of that, it doesn’t have the legal power to call for witnesses, or provide protection to victims and witnesses.
In the video, Lam had appointed two new members to the IPCC, Helen Yu Lai Ching-ping and Paul Lam Ting-kwok, SC. On Thursday, she also said there would also be a panel of international experts helping in the fact-finding studies. “They are renowned experts ... from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand,” she said.
3 Starting this month, Lam and her principal officials will reach out to the community to start a dialogue. On Thursday, when asked what she expected people to say to her when she and her officials visit local communities, Lam said she expected people to be frustrated with some of her policies. But she denied that the proposal was just a PR stunt, or that she would only meet government supporters.
4 Lam will invite community leaders, professionals and academics to independently examine and review society’s deep-seated problems and to advise the government on finding solutions. She said in Wednesday’s video address that it was obvious the discontentment extended far beyond the Bill, as seen in political, economic, social, among many different aspects of society. Lam did not mention who would be selected to investigate these problems.