Hong Kong shares gave up early gains to trade little changed by noon, as the city's legislature was adjourned amid disruption from pro-democracy lawmakers shortly after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attempted to deliver her annual policy address.
Lam said it would be constitutionally inappropriate to try and tackle the current political deadline in her policy address, which was meant to lay out prospective government initiatives and targets: "We have to fulfil the constitutional requirements", Lam said. Even so, the protests have continued to grow, with peaceful marches that have drawn hundreds of thousands of demonstrators from all walks of life in Hong Kong, to smaller and frequently more violent protests led mostly by young student activists that have been met with force by police. The core demands of protesters include an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for the more than 2,500 people arrested and the right for Hong Kongers to freely elect their leaders.
The House passed three bills Tuesday aimed at showing US support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The bill passed by the House of Representatives - which was introduced in June as Hong Kong's protests took hold - says Hong Kong enjoys "unique treatment under U.S. law".
The speech by chief executive Carrie Lam was billed as an attempt to win hearts and minds after four months of seething pro-democracy protests.
In this regard, Beijing expressed its opposition and outrage to the US House of Representatives passing the draft law, and urged Washington "to come to a clear assessment of the situation" and "stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs before falling off the edge of the cliff". The suspension means the extradition bill - which sparked months of protests - was unable to be withdrawn formally.
Donny Chan reads in his apartment, one of a growing number of tiny, upscale units known as "microflats" in Hong Kong.
Smith has sought to pass similar legislation since 2014 but the ongoing Hong Kong protests and China's efforts to suppress them provided the impetus needed for the legislation.
Britain's royal couple in Pakistan for 5-day visit
Taking to Twitter earlier in the day, British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said it will be a "very exciting programme". Left: Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge in Islamabad , Oct. 15, 2019.
In a major move on Wednesday that could push US-China relations to a new low, the US Congress enacted legislation that mandates an annual review of the state of affairs in Hong Kong, inviting strong condemnation from China.
Protesters display U.S. flags and sing the U.S. National Anthem during a rally at the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong on September 20. The U.S. -based Hong Kong Democracy Council applauded lawmakers, and the group's managing director Samuel Chu called it "the strongest statement made to-date in support of the people of Hong Kong". There have been injuries among both protesters and police.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan said Lam should resign.
Her speech included measures aimed at increasing the availability and affordability of housing for Hong Kong residents, many of whom have struggled with skyrocketing property prices and widening inequality.
Minutes before Lam's address was due to begin, democratic lawmakers inside the legislative building held up placards showing an image of Lam with bloodied hands and began calling for an investigation into the police handling of the protests.
Hong Kong is facing its first recession in a decade, with tourism and retail hit hard by the unrest.
Republican House member Mario Diaz-Balart said the Act ensures "that the special relationship with Hong Kong endures only as long as Hong Kong retains the autonomy and freedoms that justify that special relationship".