The extradition bill that sparked Hong Kong’s largest protests in more than a decade was declared dead on Tuesday by the former British colony’s embattled leader who called the process a “total failure.”
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, told reporters that the plan is dead, Reuters reported. There have been widespread calls for Lam to step down and her political fate is far from certain.
She faced tough criticism after insisting that the measure—which called for criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China—would help protect human rights in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Critics could not have been more opposed to the measure and Lam’s theory. They said Beijing enforces arbitrary detentions and torture, a claim China denied.
Hong Kong was guaranteed the right to retain its own social, legal and political systems for 50 years under an agreement reached before its 1997 return to China from British rule. But China’s ruling Communist Party has been seen as increasingly reneging on that agreement by pushing through unpopular legal changes.
“It’s the culmination of about six weeks of mounting concern,” Hong Kong Bar Association Chair Philip Dykes said in an interview. “There is a dissatisfaction with it all.”