Minitrue: Do Not Report on Withdrawal of HK Extradition Bill

The following  instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

Urgent notice: All websites and new media, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced the formal withdrawal of the draft “Extradition Regulations.” Do not re-publish, do not follow up, do not report, and strictly dispose of foreign information posted to social platforms. Close relevant comment sections, and strictly handle accounts who attack the government in the name of patriotism. (September 5, 2019) [Chinese]

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam yesterday announced the full withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill that set off three months of ongoing protest in the city. Her announcement came on the heels of a Reuters report that Beijing had rejected the Hong Kong government’s earlier suggestion to meet protesters’ demand to fully withdraw the bill, and another on a leaked speech in which Lam commented on the “very limited” room she had to maneuver her response to the crisis. At Reuters, Farah Master reports on Lam’s public comments that Beijing offered “respect and support”  for the withdrawal:

In a press conference, Lam was repeatedly questioned on why it took her so long to withdraw the bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China despite increasingly violent protests, but she skirted the questions.

“It is not exactly correct to describe this as a change of mind,” she said.

She added that full withdrawal of the bill was a decision made by her government with Beijing’s backing.

“Throughout the whole process, the Central People’s Government took the position that they understood why we have to do it. They respect my view, and they support me all the way,” said Lam, dressed in a cream suit and looking less tense than a televised appearance the day before.

[…] The official China Daily said the withdrawal of the bill was an olive branch that leaves demonstrators with no excuse to continue the violence. [Source]

The full withdrawal of the bill was one of five demands by demonstrators, who have said that the late withdrawal after three months of protest was “too little, too late.” Protesters are also calling for the release of all demonstrators in custody, an independent investigation into police brutality, the retraction of “riot” used to describe rallies, and the right for the Hong Kong people to choose their leaders. Beijing’s decision to impose limits on who could run for office in Hong Kong set off the 2014 Umbrella Movement in the city.

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. Some instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.

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