November 15, 2019

Hong Kong's Troubles Are Far from Over

“Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Wednesday she’ll withdraw legislation that would allow extradition to mainland China. The bill was the catalyst for 13 straight weekends of protest and the concession is welcome, but by now it will take more to end the city’s political crisis.

The demands of protesters have escalated as police have arrested more than 1,100 people, including pro-democracy lawmakers and activists. Hong Kongers now want the right to directly elect their chief executive and lawmakers. Beijing won’t allow this, but Ms. Lam could at least acknowledge the excessive use of police force and allow an independent inquiry into abuses. Yet on Wednesday she claimed that a probe of police enforcement actions is “best handled by the existing and well-established Independent Police Complaints Council.”

The council has authority merely to “observe, monitor and review” internal police investigations and make recommendations, without the independent power even to summon witnesses. Council members are appointed by Ms. Lam, who answers to Beijing. The council lacks the independence and statutory authority to conduct a credible inquiry.”

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