1006 GMT October 21, 2019
Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday suspended the bill, which would allow suspects to be sent for trial to countries not covered by Hong Kong’s current extradition agreements, after it sparked unprecedented protests in the region, saying the government won’t proceed with the law if public fears persist, Presstv Reported.
Critics say the law could be used to send Beijing’s political opponents to mainland China. Proponents say it makes for normal judicial processes that will close loopholes in current laws.
China's Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi said on Wednesday that his country respects and backs Lam's decision.
The senior diplomat stressed that the proposed legislation "completely suited the interests of the Hong Kong people".
"But due to the fact that all sides need to further understand and discuss this, the Hong Kong government decided to postpone this process. The central government has already formally expressed our support, understanding, and respect for this," Wang said at a joint press conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok.
He noted that Beijing has been angered by criticism from Western countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, about the bill.
"What we must be on guard against is that some Western forces are taking advantage of this issue to stir up trouble and incite opposition in an attempt to destroy Hong Kong's social stability and the implementation of one country, two systems," Wang added.
"We must say it here loudly: you must withdraw your black hand,” he said, stressing that Hong Kong is a China’s internal affair.
“We don't need your meddling here. Hong Kong is not a place for you to run amuck," the top diplomat added.
Former British colony Hong Kong was returned to China after about a century in 1997. Its legislative, executive, and judicial bodies are separate from and independent of China, and Beijing only maintains authority in defense, foreign affairs, and constitutional disputes.