China redoubled its support for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday after days of protests against a planned extradition bill, and a source close to Lam said Beijing was unlikely to let her go even if she tried to resign, reports Reuters.
Lam’s attempts to pass a bill that would allow people in Hong Kong to be extradited to China for trial triggered the biggest and most violent protests in decades in the former British colony, now under Chinese rule.
As the crisis entered its second week, demonstrators and opposition politicians braved intermittent rain to gather near the government’s offices and urge her to kill the bill and quit.
The upheaval comes at a delicate time for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is grappling with a deepening U.S. trade war, slowing economic growth and regional strategic tension.
Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since its return to Chinese rule in 1997, enjoying freedoms not granted to the mainland, including an independent judiciary but short of a fully democratic vote.
Many residents are increasingly unnerved by Beijing’s tightening grip and what they see as the erosion of those freedoms. Many say changes to the rule of law could imperil Hong Kong’s status as a global financial center.