Hong Kong Pushes Ahead with Extradition Bill Despite Protests

Hong Kong Pushes Ahead with Extradition Bill Despite Protests

Organisers say more than a million people - one seventh of Hong Kong's population - took part in Sunday's demonstration against a planned bill to allow extradition to mainland China.

Police said the crowd was about 240,000 people, but organizers estimated more than 1 million turned out.

Critics of the extradition bill say it would fatally compromise Hong Kong's autonomy, expose citizens and visitors to abuse by mainland China's inhumane and politicized legal system, and damage Hong Kong financially by making foreign businessmen nervous about traveling to the city.

Britain handed Hong Kong back to China under a "one country, two systems" formula with guarantees that its autonomy and freedoms, including an independent justice system, would be protected.

The city's Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, defended the bill in a 45-minute news briefing yesterday, saying it was necessary to prevent the city from becoming a "haven" for fugitives and vowing to press ahead with its passage.

The Taiwan government should also issue a statement, asking the Hong Kong government to halt its review of the bill, which could put the personal freedom of Taiwanese nationals at risk, as it would allow the Hong Kong government to send suspects to China for trial, the groups said.

June 2019: Hundreds of thousands march through central Hong Kong to protest the proposed changes to the extradition laws.

The student union of several higher education institutions and the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union urged people to strike on Wednesday.

A series of steps by the Chinese and Hong Kong governments in recent years have prompted a growing uneasiness among Hong Kong residents about their future, a concern that burst out in a protest by hundreds of thousands of people last weekend. "Without the sense of security and protection, I think the global city that Hong Kong has always been will be completely changed down the line".

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The sudden appearance of around 2,000 predominantly young protesters after 11:00 pm (1500 GMT), some carrying tents and supplies, was met by a marked increase in police reinforcements, many of them equipped with riot gear.

Protesters march during a rally on June 9 against the extradition law proposal in Hong Kong.

"Many Hong Kongers were still anxious but also hopeful that at least there would be 50 years", said Li.

Resentment towards China has been intensified by soaring property prices - with increasing numbers of mainland Chinese buying properties in the city - as well as the government's "patriotic education" drive, and the large numbers of mainland tourists who flock to Hong Kong. "We resolutely oppose wrong words and actions by any foreign forces to interfere in the legislative matters of the Hong Kong SAR", he said, referring to the "special administrative region".

Taiwan and Hong Kong share a similar destiny and they should join hands to fight against China's aggression, the students said.

Supporters say the legislation is necessary to plug a "loophole" in the current law and protect Hong Kong from becoming a "haven for worldwide fugitives". China has been excluded from those agreements because of concerns over its judicial independence and human rights record.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam described the legislation as important.

"If global investors lose confidence in Hong Kong because of this evil bill, then Hong Kong, economically, would also be destroyed".

Passengers clear Chinese immigration inside the station in Hong Kong, prompting protests from some opposition lawmakers that Chinese law would apply in the immigration area.

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