Hong Kong protesters reject leader’s second apology

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said “sorry” again on Tuesday after issuing a short public apology in third person during Sunday’s protest in which more than a quarter of the city’s population took part.

Protesters have ignored Lam’s latest apology over her handling of the extradition bill since she was not ready to withdraw the bill, quit her post and drop charges against arrested protesters.

She also failed to initiate an inquiry into whether police used excessive force against protesters outside the Legislative Council complex last Wednesday (June 12).

During a press conference stretching for nearly an hour, Lam apologised for the mistakes she made while trying to rush the bill through the legislative council.

Lam tried to pacify the protesters by promising to consult them and work hard to improve their lives until the end of her term in 2022.

During her speech, Lam gave no hint as to whether she is going to withdraw the bill that may allow dissidents to be extradited to China.

Instead, she tried to confuse protesters by saying the bill will “lapse” and “not be revived” and is “as good as dead”.

Protesters found her apology “insincere” and knew the bill be reintroduced in the legislative council once the situation normalises.

While admitting her lapses in handling the bill, Lam still believes the extradition bill is necessary to prevent Hong Kong from being turned into a haven for fugitives.

Hong Kongers fear the prospect of extradition to China known for its high conviction rate and arbitrary, secret and indefinite detention.

The massive protests on June 9, June 12 and June 16 have spoiled the chances of Lam getting a second term in 2022. It is even doubtful whether Beijing will allow her to complete the current term.

The protesters have a sent a clear message to Lam and to China that bills, which threaten to erode Hong Kongers’ basic rights enshrined under the ‘one country, two systems’ agreement during the 1997 handover, will face tough resistance.