Hong Kong is under the spell of a controversial bill that allows extradition to China. Driver Carrie Lam has declared the design dead, but opponents continue to take massive action. We know this about the unrest in Hong Kong.
The law was drafted after a murder in Taiwan, an island that China sees as an apostate province. A vacation from a Hong Kong couple in 2018 ended in a bloodbath. The man killed his pregnant girlfriend and then fled home. He admitted to being guilty, but refused to return to Taiwan himself.
Lam says he wants to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a sanctuary for criminals with the new law. As a special administrative region within China, Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy, which includes its own legal system. The region has never concluded extradition treaties with China, Taiwan and Macau.
The so-called "one country, two systems" principle was implemented in 1997, the year in which the United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong to China. The agreements on the independence of the region are valid for fifty years.
Hundreds of thousands of people have campaigned against extradition law. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Opponents of the law fear abuse
The bill is seen by many Hong Kong residents as an undermining of their independence. Among other things, they fear that Beijing will abuse the law to try political opponents or other state enemies in China.
That fear is not just there. For example, in 2015 Hong Kong sellers of books banned by the central government disappeared. The five appeared to be stuck in China.
The regional government has made concessions to alleviate the concerns of the population. In the run-up to the parliamentary debate on the amended bill in June, the mass demonstrations of the opponents reached a new high. Lam decided to suspend the proposal indefinitely.
Taiwan has already expressed concern about the extradition law several times and has indicated that it will not cooperate in the possible extradition of the murder suspect. With that, according to Lam, the urgency to approve the law has disappeared. The Hong Kong leader had set July as the deadline.
Lam wants to regain the trust of the population. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Demands of the demonstrators
- Final withdrawal of the extradition bill
- Lam's resignation, political reform in Hong Kong
- Protests no longer describe as riots
- Drop charges against arrested protesters
- Independent investigation into police actions
Protesters do not settle for suspension
The actions against the law persist despite Lam's decision. After protesters stormed and destroyed the parliament building, Lam declared the extradition law "dead". She called the situation in Hong Kong the "biggest political crisis in decades" and stated that the government "failed completely".
Because there is no definitive withdrawal of the demonstrators' disappointment, tensions in the region are increasing. In the meantime, the demonstrators also demand Lam's resignation.
However, Hong Kong's highest driver does not intend to leave. She is supported in this by the government of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Lam was chosen in 2017 by a committee that is in favor of Beijing. Like the majority of Hong Kong people's representation, Lam is pro-China.
The police are also supported by the Chinese government. The demonstrators are very critical of the agents in the region. They are alleged to use too much violence and therefore an independent investigation into the conduct of the police is required.
171Why Hong Kong demonstrates so often
Chinese army can intervene in Hong Kong
The call for independence and democracy sounds louder and louder, while demonstrations increasingly end in confrontations with the police. The Chinese army may intervene at the request of the Hong Kong authorities, but that does not seem to be the case now.
The extradition law is seen by the central government as an internal matter. In addition, Beijing said in one of the first responses that the Hong Kong government and people must find ways to solve the problems in the region itself.
The central government says it supports Hong Kong judicial bodies "in punishing criminals in accordance with the law". "We support the people who love both China and Hong Kong in their effort to protect the rule of law in the region."
Chen Daoxiang, supreme commander of the Chinese army in Hong Kong, condemns the violence by the demonstrators. "We are committed to protecting Hong Kong's sovereignty, security, stability and prosperity."
A video was published at the end of July in which his troops exercise with people posing as rioters. The military speaks Cantonese, the regional language in Hong Kong, among others. "All consequences are at your own risk," one of the soldiers shouts.
Protesters are increasingly clashing with riot police. (Photo: Reuters)
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