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.
Demonstrators opposed to Lam's administration said Tuesday they will nonetheless continue to protest.
The opposition remains persistent in their demands for the bill to be formally withdrawn and an investigation opened into the brutal tactics used by police against demonstrators. Millions who have joined in the protests express growing concerns about the continuous disintegration of political freedom present in the semi-autonomous Chinese enclave.
"We cannot find the word 'dead' in any of the laws in Hong Kong or in any legal proceedings in the Legislative Council," said protest leaders Jimmy Sham and Bonnie Leung. "So how can the government tell us what we should preserve our rule of law, when [Lam] herself does not use the principle of the rule of law?"
The two stated that Lam was hypocritical in claiming to have met demonstrators' demands without actually speaking to them directly.
"Instead, she should really stand out and talk to the young protesters," Leung said. "The young protesters have been out in the street outside her house, outside government headquarters, for weeks, roaring to be heard."
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.”
Fox News' Morgan Cheung and the Associated Press contributed to this report