(CNN) — Hong Kong will suspend a controversial China extradition bill, its leader said Saturday, in an apparent bid to quell further unrest and mass demonstrations throughout the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
Speaking after consultations with lawmakers, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said passage of the bill would be suspended and a second reading due to take place this month canceled. There is no timeline for discussions around the bill to resume, Lam said, and she indicated it likely will not pass this year.
“We have made many attempts to narrow differences and eliminate doubts,” Lam said. “In the last week, tens of thousands of people took part in protests and gatherings. Serious conflicts broke out … resulting in a number of police officers, media workers and other members of the public being injured. I am saddened by this.”
She added that in suspending the bill she hoped the government could “restore calmness” to society. Failure to do so would “deal another blow to the society,” Lam said.
The climbdown over the bill will raise questions over Lam’s future. Before she became Chief Executive in 2017, Lam said she would resign “if mainstream opinion makes me no longer able to continue the job.”
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