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Hong Kong leader apologizes after the extradition law has provoked massive protests



Hong Kong's embattled leader apologized for running a controversial extradition law after hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets on Sunday as indignant legislation continued to grow.

Carrie Lam, director-general of Hong Kong, apologized for "the utmost sincerity and humility" among the people after the streets of the city, on a second Sunday in a row, witnessed a fierce demonstration of opposition to legislation, which raised fears of widening the Control has triggered overcrowding from Beijing in the former British colony.

"The government believes that these views were born of love and concern for Hong Kong," said a statement by an unidentified government spokesman.

Hong Kong interrupts controversial extradition bill after the biggest protests in recent years

Hong Kong citizens are outraged at the proposed extradition bill that would allow many people to be sent to mainland China Fear of the law would threatening civil liberties and an independent judicial system promised for 50 years, when communist-ruled China took control in 1

997;

  Tens of thousands of protesters march through the streets while protesting against extradition laws on Sunday, June 16, 2019, in Hong Kong.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators march through the streets protesting against extradition laws on Sunday, June 16, 2019, in Hong Kong.
(AP Photo / Kin Cheung)

"The Director-General admitted that deficiencies in government work had led to significant controversy and strife in society that led to disappointment and mourning among the population," a government spokesman said. "The chief executive apologized to the people of Hong Kong for this and promised to take a sincere and modest attitude in order to receive criticism and make improvements in the public service."

Lam, who was elected Beijing's highest representative. The local official suspended her efforts to enforce the law on Saturday to suppress the protests.

"She should have apologized for not improving people's livelihood. She should resign, "said music teacher Chau Chong of the South China Morning Post. "But unfortunately we know that Beijing, even if she resigns, only finds another puppet to run Hong Kong."

Crowds gathered in front of the police station and in front of Lams office late in the night on Sunday. The thoroughfares and side streets that line Victoria Harbor's waterfront saw tourists and buyers drive much of the Asian financial center's economy.

  Tens of thousands of protesters march through the streets with a banner saying "Hong Kong is set to protest" in Hong Kong against extradition law (Sunday, June 16, 2019).

Tens of thousands of protesters march through the streets with the inscription "Hong Kong stands firm" as they continue to protest against a law on extradition (Sunday, June 16, 2019), June 16, 2019, in Hong Kong.
(AP Photo / Kin Cheung)

"Our demands are simple, Carrie Lam must resign, the extradition law must be withdrawn and the police must apologize for extreme violence against their own people," said bank clerk John Chow said as he marched with a group of his friends. "And we will continue."

HONG KONG EXTRADITION BILL DEBATE DELAYED WHEN THE POLICE HAD USED MORE THAN 150 ROUND TEAR GAS TO PROTESTERN ELECTIONS, but to enforce dictates from Beijing, where President Xi Jinping has increasingly enforced authoritarian rule. There was also anger over the way the police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and other violent measures when protesters broke through barricades outside the city's headquarters in this smaller but more aggressive protest.

The police Sunday were significantly relaxed officers, mainly used for direct traffic, as demonstrators snaked from a sprawling downtown park to the governing seat of the Hong Kong commercial center, the Associated Press reported.

Despite Lam's decision, Democracy activists on Monday called for a general strike to suspend work on legislation. Several unions, teachers' associations and other groups planned a boycott of work and education, and called on the Lam government to withdraw the proposed changes and not re-submit them for adoption at a later date.

"We encourage the general public to carry on the campaign," said Bonnie Leung, a leader of the pro-democracy civil rights front. "If new acts of violence take place, it is the responsibility of the police."

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Following Lam's announcement to suspend legislation to prevent further violence, and to facilitate additional disputes, Chinese government officials issued several statements underpinned this decision. Lam made it clear, however, that she did not withdraw. She has also avoided the question of whether she should stop and has also defended how the police handled the clashes with protesters over the past week.

  Hong Kong General Manager Carrie Lam arrives in Hong Kong on Saturday, June 15, 2019 for a press conference. Lam said she would suspend an envisaged extradition law indefinitely in response to widespread public discontent with the measure that would allow the authorities to bring some suspects to justice.

Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam Comes to a Press Conference in Hong On Saturday, June 15, 2019, Lam said she would suspend an envisaged extradition law indefinitely in response to widespread public discontent with the measure it was taking allow the authorities to bring some suspects to justice.
(AP Photo / Kin Cheung)

Lam believes that extradition laws are necessary if Hong Kong is to uphold justice, fulfill its international obligations, and not become a magnet for refugees. The proposed bill would extend the scope of criminal suspect transfers to Taiwan, Macao and mainland China.

"China just wants to turn Hong Kong into another Chinese city," Alex To said to the AP. "Carrie Lam is just a figurehead, it all depends on the attitudes of leaders in Beijing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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