Some in Hong Kong’s Pro-Beijing Camp Break Ranks, Calling for Delay of Bill – The New York Times

In a sign of the international pressure on Mrs. Lam, a bipartisan group of American lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday calling for a broad review of Washington’s relationship with Hong Kong. The bill would require the American secretary of state to affirm every year that the territory remains sufficiently autonomous from the Chinese mainland to deserve special treatment.

On Friday, Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, accused the American lawmakers of making “irresponsible” remarks and “violently” interfering in China’s internal affairs.

After the protests and clashes on Wednesday, the Hong Kong legislature’s president delayed debate on the extradition bill through Friday. No date has been set for when the legislature will resume meeting. Further protests against the bill are planned for Sunday, and activists have called for schools, shops and workers to go on strike on Monday, in another effort to stop the bill from passing.

The South China Morning Post newspaper reported on Friday that 22 former top officials and lawmakers in Hong Kong had asked Ms. Lam in a letter to “yield to public opinion and withdraw the bill for more thorough deliberation.” They also urged her advisers to resign if their pleas to that effect are ignored.

“A deeply divided society, serious concerns of the international community — are these the sacrifices to be made to satisfy the will of the chief executive?” they wrote, as reported by the newspaper. “What great public interest is supposed to be served by the hurried passage of this bill?”

Criticism of the government and the police has put significant political pressure on Mrs. Lam, who was selected by China’s leaders to govern Hong Kong two years ago and has championed the bill. But so far, she has shown no sign of backing down. On Wednesday, she called the demonstration an “organized riot” and compared the protesters — mostly young people in their 20s and 30s — to spoiled children.


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