This timelapse gives you an idea of what it looks like when 2 million people, in a city of 7 million people, march against a piece of your legislation.
At that point, you know you’ve screwed up badly.
Is there anything that can be done to save the bill, in its current form?
I do have a couple of ideas. I’m not an expert at all on Chinese or Hong Kong politics, so I’m not sure how valid my ideas are, but these are my thoughts.
- Remove mainland China from the list. Essentially, someone would have to move an amendment either stating the countries that are included under the Bill, or specifically excluding the People’s Republic of China from the Bill. This would almost immediately quell the anger from the majority of protesters, the business community, embassies, consulates, churches and various other groups. However, it would upset Beijing and the pro-Beijing camp in Hong Kong enormously if this was done, and done successfully. Doing this, and then passing the bill might upset Beijing and others in the short term, but having the legislation in place allows it to be amended in the future. Given the way that the PRC likes to play a long game, they might consider this for a short term loss for a long term gain further down the line.
- Increase the minimum jail time or reduce the number of crimes. This plan would probably not be enough to save the Bill. If it was, it already would have happened.
Ultimately, Carrie Lam saying that she needs to work on the communication of the Bill shows that she had no idea how to deal with the problem. Suspending it indefinitely shows a willingness to bring it back, and the Hong Kong population know it.