Trust in the Hong Kong government, meanwhile, dropped to 27%.
Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday said her administration will formally withdraw planned legal amendments that could allow extradition to mainland China, in a move that was quickly slammed by protesters as "too little, too late" after months of police violence and government inaction. A good number of Chinese social media posters expressed confusion over the withdrawal of the extradition bill because they have been repeatedly told the protesters were irrational or treasonous to speak out against it. So it begs the question: Why now?
The mostly young protesters say a degree of violence is necessary to get the government's attention after peaceful rallies were futile. It was the easiest step for the government to take to ease tensions. They should not simply accept the bill's withdrawal as a sufficient concession, but instead consider it an impetus for speaking out forcefully on behalf of Hong Kong people's rights. But while the withdrawal essentially amounts to an admission that the extradition bill was a mistake, it seems few in Hong Kong see the move as a major concession.
And Lam axed the bill only after refusing to do so for weeks, because her gesture of tabling it indefinitely plainly didn't suffice.
She said the bill will be formally withdrawn without any need for debate and voting in the legislative council, which resumes its meeting next month and is packed with pro-Beijing lawmakers.
"It is not exactly correct to describe this as a change of mind", she said. (Ms. Lam has since denied considering resigning.) Reuters had previously reported that Ms. Lam had sought to withdraw the bill earlier this summer, but was told by Beijing not to do so.
Online, many protesters shared an image from "Winter on Fire", a documentary about the Ukrainian protests of 2013-2014 that has been popular in Hong Kong recently, showing a man speaking with Chinese captions: "If we accepted the government's conditions, our friends who've already died would not forgive us".
Widespread and credible reports of sexual mistreatment and injuries suffered by arrested protesters in police custody have also fueled calls for an independent public inquiry, including from one in seven of Hong Kong's elite civil servants.
Pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow leave the Eastern Court after being released on bail in Hong Kong, Aug. 30, 2019.
"If [Lam] wants to listen to what to listen to what Hong Kong people want, she only needs to go down to protest sites", said the other.
On the protest side, rejection has come in from both moderates and more radical groups. It's not an independent commission, but it's something. However, she named two new members to a police watchdog agency investigating the matter. The IPCC is led by Anthony Neoh, a respected lawyer, but it is packed with pro-government politicians. The Hong Kong share market responded to Lam's statement with an upward bounce of almost 4 percent.
Full withdrawal is one of five key demands of protesters, who are also calling for full democratic rights.
Chu agreed with President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) denial that the government has intervened in Hong Kong's affairs, as Beijing has claimed.
"The situation is deteriorating and we face a humanitarian crisis in Hong Kong", he said.
Since its 1997 handover back to China from Britain, Hong Kong has been ruled under a "one country, two systems" framework which gave the city British capitalism, common law, and personal freedoms not found in mainland China for a period of 50 years.