I went over to r/HongKong to see how actual HKers are reacting to Carrie Lam promising to withdraw the extradition bill. Turns out they are very skeptical. Key points:
- She hasn’t actually withdrawn it; just promised to propose withdrawing it the next time their legislative body reconvenes in October
- She is rejecting the protestors’ other demands (universal suffrage, investigation into police brutality, amnesty for protestors, not calling the protests “riots”)
- People are speculating that China is faking this “concession” to make the world less sympathetic toward the protestors. Since they aren’t granting amnesty, they can arrest all the movement’s leaders for inciting violence, then reintroduce a new version of the bill later on (perhaps disguised/buried in some larger piece of legislation to dampen outrage)
- China state media is giving this news full coverage, meaning they aren’t afraid at all of looking weak. This contributes to suspicion that this is merely a chess move in their plot to subdue HK.
Tl;dr don’t read too much into Lam’s “concession.” The protests are going to continue. The only question is whether the international community will continue to care. May give markets a short term pop but long term it’s doubtful that this conflict is actually resolved.