This is incredibly important, if it is true. The Hong Kong Free Press is reporting that Carrie Lam will formally withdraw the extradition bill. This bill is the initial cause of the protests that have convulsed Hong Kong for over three months.
If the bill is formally withdrawn, the Hong Kong government will meet one of the five primary demands of the protesters, and it could pave the way for negotiations on the other four of the protesters’ five demands.
That said, if the bill is withdrawn, look for Beijing and the HK government to pressure the protesters to relent. If the protests continue anyway, many people, both in Hong Kong and internationally, will tend to view the protesters as unreasonable. The protest movement must play this very carefully, or they will lose the public support that they currently enjoy. Beijing may be counting on more radical elements in the protest movement to overplay their hand, alienating their base of support. That must not happen if the protest movement wants to effect lasting change in Hong Kong.
In any case, if the bill is withdrawn, it does appear to be a victory for the protest movement – but let’s not celebrate too early. This is an early report, and it is likely that Beijing has other plans in effect to disperse and blunt the effect of the protest movement.