HONG KONG – Backpedaling under growing public pressure, apologized to Hong Kong's top leader Tuesday for publicly proposing conflicting laws that would allow extradition to mainland China.
"I would like to extend my sincere apologies to Hong Kong citizens," said Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, at a press conference at the government headquarters. "I have come to understand that I could have done better, I should have done a better job."
Mrs. Lam, who had already announced the law's indefinite suspension, said on Tuesday that as long as there were public disputes over the content, the legislative work on it would not resume.
About 100 people were gathered outside the central government and listened as Mrs Lamb's words boomed from a speaker. Many booed as she spoke.
Samuel Chan, an electronics dealer, said he did not believe that Mrs. Lam listened to the protests' demands, including their call to withdraw the extradition bill.
"They just answer the question according to a government statement," said Mr. Chan, 56. "No People's Will."
Wife. Lam faces great public anger and continued demands for its resignation after three major protests over the last 10 days. Despite her announcement on Saturday that the legislation was suspended indefinitely, the protesters showed the next day in more than ever, with organizers providing an unconfirmed estimate of nearly two million of the area's seven million people.
On Sunday evening, the Hong Kong government responded to that march with an amicable written statement that ended with a rare excuse by Mrs Lam, who is known for almost never backing in a fight.
"The CEO apologized to the people of Hong Kong for this and promised to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticism and make improvements in serving the public," the statement said.
It was not enough to satisfy Mrs Lamb's many critics. The civilian human rights front, one of the wider groups that helped organize the latest protests, said in a statement on Monday night that it would still have her resignation.
However, its first priority is that the government loses all charges against you who have been arrested during the protests.
Police have arrested 32 people since Wednesday when a demonstration outside the Hong Kong legislation became violent. A group of protesters trying to storm the building, throwing umbrellas and other objects in the police, reacting with tear gas and rubber balls.
On Monday night, Hong Kong's police force, Lo Wai-chung, said the government would pursue rioting charges against only five people accused of being involved in the violence. Protesters had protested against his earlier characterization of Wednesday's protest as a rebellion.
On Tuesday, Mrs Lam did not compile Mr Los comments except to say that those who protested peacefully would not be subject to judicial action.
Some democratic activists are quietly nervous about the opportunity to resign Lam Lamb, a lifelong official, for her political heritage, Paul Chan, to have a reputation for being even stronger for Beijing.
Others have stated that Mrs. Lambs Down You claim that the Hong Kong public should push for full and free elections instead of accepting the current system where a pro-Beijing committee with fewer than 1,200 selects the director.
Protesters made similar demands for open elections five years ago when they occupied large roads for almost three months in the so-called umbrella movement. While this movement did not reach its short-term goals, it had a major impact on this year's Extradition Protocol.
Emily Lau, a former president of the Democratic Party, who is still an influential voice on democracy issues, said Politics of Mr Chan, the finance secretary, should not discourage critics from requesting Mrs Lamb's resignation.
"It would be a disaster to have him as CEO," Lau said. "But we shouldn't say," Because we don't want Paul Chan, Carrie may have to stay. ""
Many critics have also called for the extradition bill to be drawn right and not just suspended. Otherwise, experts say it can be reintroduced at any time, although government advisors have made it clear that there are no plans to do so.
Hong Kong's lawyer is controlled by pro-Beijing lawmakers who own 43 out of 70 seats. When she announced the extradition bill's suspension on Saturday, Mrs. Lam said that if she had wanted to force it through, she would have had enough votes to do so.
Anthony Cheung, a former transport and housing secretary, said the government should withdraw the bill because there was so much disagreement about what it should say.
"There is clearly no consensus in society, including the legal community, on the content of the bill," he said in a telephone conversation on Tuesday morning.
The bill would make it easier for Hong Kong to send people suspected of crimes to jurisdictions with which it does not have extradition agreements. It will include mainland China, where the judiciary is notoriously impenetrable and under the control of the ruling Communist Party.
Opponents fear that if the bill becomes law, anyone in the city will be in danger of being sent to the mainland, including dissidents. According to Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule in 1997, the former British colony has its own legal and economic systems as well as civil liberties unknown to the mainland. But in recent years, these freedoms have eroded.
Mrs. Lam has said many times that she introduced the bill to settle the case of a local man accused of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan, who has no Hong Kong extradition agreement. But Taiwan, which China considers its territory, has said it would not seek for man's extradition under the law which it fears could undermine its sovereignty.