Hong Kong sees massive protests over new China extradition laws

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In what could be the biggest protest in Hong Kong in over a decade, hundreds of thousands marched on Sunday to protest new extradition law that would send prisoners to the Chinese mainland.

The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China is the constitution of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and a national law of the People’s Republic of ChinaComprising nine chapters, 160 articles and three annexes, the Basic Law was adopted on 4 April 1990 by the Seventh National People’s Congress and signed by President Yang Shangkun.

The Basic Law came into effect on 1 July 1997 in Hong Kong when the sovereignty over Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China, replacing Hong Kong’s colonial constitution of the Letters Patent and the Royal Instructions.  (Wikipedia)

10 June 2019 | Claire Huang | Straits Times

HONG KONG – A day after what organisers touted as an unprecedented protest with a record one million people taking to the streets to protest against proposed changes to an extradition Bill,  Chief Executive Carrie Lam has shown no signs of backing down even as opponents called for fresh protests.

Mrs Lam told the media late in the morning on Monday (June 10) that the proposed amendments to the bill that will go through a second reading on Wednesday (June 12), “will help to uphold justice”.

She noted that the intense discussions over the last four months since the idea was mooted in early February “is quite unprecedented”.

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Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam holds a press conference on Monday (June 10), a day after the city witnessed its largest street protest in at least 15 years as crowds massed against plans to allow extraditions to China.PHOTO: AFP

“While we will continue to do any communication and explanation (of the changes), there is very little merit to be gained to delay the Bill. It will just cause more anxiety and divisiveness in society,” the leader said in a televised speech.

The Bill, which could be passed as early as end June, will allow Hong Kong to hand over fugitives to various jurisdictions, such as Taiwan and mainland China.

But businessmen, diplomats, local and foreign chambers of commerce, lawyers and non-governmental organisations have criticised the proposals on fears of political persecution and the lack of fair trials or human rights protection in the mainland.

The strong opposition, coupled with the unease within the pro-establishment camp, have led the government to twice water down initial proposals that were mooted in February.

Hong Kong police force back protesters trying to storm parliament

On Monday, Mrs Lam said the Bill would ensure that Hong Kong fulfil its international obligations in the areas of cross boundary and transnational crimes.

“This bill is about putting in place a special surrender arrangement, that is, a case-by-case arrangement, with all the other jurisdictions that Hong Kong has not yet had a long term agreement,” she said.

“And the number of such jurisdictions that Hong Kong has is a mere 20, so there must be over 170 other jurisdictions that we have no legal basis to entertain a request for the return of a fugitive offender – somebody who has committed a very serious crime in that particular jurisdiction but has fled to Hong Kong and we can’t do anything about it,” she added.

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Riot police detains a demonstrator during a protest to demand the authorities scrap a proposed extradition Bill with China, in Hong Kong, on June 10, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Hong Kong leader stressed that the Bill was not initiated by the Chinese government and that she has not “received any instruction or mandate from Beijing” on this.

Referring to the G7 review of Hong Kong on money laundering and terrorist financing, Mrs Lam noted that the city fared poorly and that this would undermine international collaboration.