Updated Oct 16, 2019

Hong Kong leader suspends key speech being jeered by lawmakers

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam (2nd L) is heckled as she leaves the chamber for a second time Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam aborted her annual policy address after being heckled Wednesday by opposition lawmakers in the Chinese territory's legislature.

Why it matters: Lam had planned to formally withdraw the controversial extradition bill that triggered months of massive protests that have crippled the Asian financial hub. Per the BBC, the legislative suspension after Lam was twice interrupted by the opposition lawmakers means the bill could not be formally withdrawn.

The big picture: After the legislature was adjourned for the second time, the address was delivered via a pre-recorded video.

  • In the address, Lam announced measures to tackle the housing shortage, which Reuters notes is "believed to have fueled" the protests.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on Lam's speech and more context.

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Violence in Hong Kong as leader denounces "enemies of the people"

Riot police mass today in Hong Kong. Photo: Ivan Cheung/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong endured one of the most violent days in five months of protests today, with police shooting a protestor at close range, protestors lighting a man on fire, and Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam denouncing "enemies of the people."

Why it matters: More than 60 people were wounded, according to Lam, and tear gas filled the air in the Central business district in the middle of the work day. Chris Johnson, a former top CIA China analyst now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Michael Morell on the Intelligence Matters podcast that protest leaders realize violence by more "hardcore" elements risks sapping western support.

Go deeperArrowNov 11, 2019

Hong Kong revokes extradition bill that triggered protests

A pro-democracy protester being detained by riot police on Oct. 21. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The Hong Kong government on Wednesday withdrew an extradition bill that set off months of protests and sparked a greater pro-democracy movement in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, the AP reports.

Why it matters: Though Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee said the government was suspending the bill because of civil unrest, it is unclear if the withdrawal will appease demonstrators, who have been protesting for five months.

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Keep ReadingArrowOct 23, 2019

Hong Kong frees murder suspect who triggered massive protests

Chan Tong-kai walks out of the Pik Uk Prison in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

Murder suspect Chan Tong-kai, whose case prompted Hong Kong's government to introduce a bill that would've exposed Hong Kongers to extradition to mainland China, was released from prison Wednesday, the BBC reports. He was released as officials were preparing to formally withdraw the controversial bill, per AP.

Why it matters: The bill triggered months of massive demonstrations in the Chinese territory that morphed into a wider pro-democracy protest movement that's become embroiled in U.S. politics. Congress has raised China's ire by pressing ahead with a bill supporting the Hong Kong protesters, and the NBA has become involved in a standoff with Chinese officials over the movement.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019