JUDY WOODRUFF: In Hong Kong, the chief executive
announced today that she will formally withdraw a bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents
to be extradited to mainland China for trials. This proposal has sparked months of large-scale,
sometimes violent protests. But, as Nick Schifrin tells us, protesters
reaction was negative, saying her move is too little, too late. NICK SCHIFRIN: Judy, it was the bill that
launched 1,000 protests. Since April, protesters have filled Hong Kong’s
streets, clashing on some occasions with police, and, at one point, ransacking the building
where the local government convenes. Hong Kong is an international financial capital,
but it has struggled to stay open for business. Last month, the airport was shut down by sit-ins
and clashes. Officials in Beijing have labeled the protesters
criminals and terrorists. Today, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam
said she was trying to restore stability. CARRIE LAM, Hong Kong Chief Executive: Our
foremost priority now is to end violence, to safeguard the rule of law, and to restore
order and safety in society. As such, the government has to strictly enforce
the law against all violent and illegal acts. NICK SCHIFRIN: Lam also discussed investigating
police tactics and holding talks with protest and pro-democracy leaders. I’m now joined by a pro-democracy legislator,
Alvin Yeung, a member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. Alvin Yeung, thank you for joining us. Is what Carrie Lam announced today enough? ALVIN YEUNG, Hong Kong Civic Party Leader:
What Carrie Lam said today is too little too late. If she had done it three months ago, Hong
Kong people wouldn’t have suffered so much. And, by now, this so-called withdrawal, of
course, is one of the five demands that Hong Kong people are asking for. But she didn’t and failed to address the police
brutality. Let’s make it very clear here. The system here in Hong Kong, the so-called
Police Investigation Committee, has no investigative power. There’s no way that this committee could require
any witness to attend and tell truth. NICK SCHIFRIN: Lam also spoke about dialogue
with community leaders and universal suffrage, something that protesters have been demanding
and that’s referenced in the 1997 deal, when the British left Hong Kong. Is it a positive sign that she mentioned those? ALVIN YEUNG: So-called dialogue, we have witnessed
from previous experience that this government only pick and choose people from their own
camp to have a dialogue with. And even if, when they pick somebody from
the other side, the democratic side, they were simply just there to listen, and without
taking any action. And let me remind everybody who’s listening
or watching this program, five years ago, there was an Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. Carrie Lam, who was then the chief secretary,
the number two person of the government, she had a dialogue with the then student leaders. And guess what? Out of the five student leaders, four of them
got arrested. NICK SCHIFRIN: We were there back in July,
and we saw when protesters ransacked through the Legislative Council. Beijing has called protesters criminals, even
terrorists. Are there any criminals inside the protests? And that violence, is that a concern of yours? ALVIN YEUNG: My concern, rather, is by withdrawing
the bill, is laying foundation for Carrie Lam to put forward something called emergency
regulation, which is totally unchecked, which is totally a very piece of — powerful piece
of legislation that empowers the chief executive — that is Carrie Lam, of course — to make
any regulation to restrict basic freedoms, including to ban freedom of assembly. And this is something that really concerns
not only Hong Kong people, but also the international community. We fear that, over the past few months, we
have witnessed, including Hong Kong officials and Beijing officials, they accuse Hong Kong
protesters as terrorists or even having a color revolution, which is totally unsound,
which is totally groundless and unfair. NICK SCHIFRIN: You brought up color revolutions,
of course, referencing the Eastern European movements that overthrew communist governments. Are you saying that what you are asking for
is actually limited and that you’re not asking for any kind of independence from mainland
China? ALVIN YEUNG: We are not asking for independence. We are asking for universal suffrage, to freely
elect our chief executive and our legislature, as promised by Beijing. We are not asking for the moon. We are being very reasonable here. NICK SCHIFRIN: You started by saying that
this was too little, too late. Does that mean the protests will continue? ALVIN YEUNG: Hong Kong people cannot take
it as a victory. In fact, it’s still far, far from victory. When police brutality cannot be dealt with,
when Hong Kong people are still asking, demanding for something that we were supposed to be
granted years ago — that is universal suffrage, to freely our elect leaders — then I’m sure
Hong Kong people will not give up. NICK SCHIFRIN: Alvin Yeung, thank you very
much. ALVIN YEUNG: Thank you.