Hong Kong protest leaders arrested before weekend rallies: Live updates – CNN

The Chinese government earlier this summer rejected a proposal by embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to withdraw the controversial extradition bill, according to a Reuters report on Friday.

Hong Kong has been gripped by political unrest since early June, following the attempted introduction of the now-shelved extradition bill.

Protesters had demanded that the bill — which many feared could be used to spirit critics of Beijing across the border to be tried under China’s legal system — be permanently withdrawn.

Lam submitted a report to China that assessed the protesters’ primary demands and found that withdrawing the bill could help to resolve the crisis, according to the report.

Beijing dismissed Lam’s suggestion and ordered her not to accede to any of the protesters’ other key demands at the time, the report said, citing three individuals with direct knowledge of the matter.

According to Reuters, Lam’s report was made in advance of meeting in the Chinese city of Shenzhen on August 7 with senior mainland officials, almost two months after the protest movement began.

In addition to the full withdrawal of the bill, other protest demands outlined in Lam���s report included an independent inquiry into the protests, fully democratic elections, the removal of the term “riot” in describing protests, and scrapping all charges against those arrested so far.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the street to support the protests and voice their dissatisfaction with the city’s government and its policies over the course of the summer.

Lam’s administration considered both the withdrawal of the bill and an independent inquiry as a potential means of reducing support for the movement among moderates.

Earlier this week, Lam appeared to appeal for greater dialogue, while not accepting the protesters’ five demands.

China has continued to publicly back the Hong Kong government while condemning the protesters. On Friday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated that the central government “supports, respects and understands” the Hong Kong government’s position regarding the five demands set out by protesters.

CNN has reached out to the Hong Kong-Macao Affairs Office and the Office of Chief Executive Carrie Lam for comment on the Reuters report.

 

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