Hong Kong: Protests Over China Extradition Bill Turns Violent, Legislative Council Building Stormed and Vandalized
July 2nd, 2019 / 4:33 PM
Image Credit: Facebook/Carrie Lam
A group of protesters, breaking away from a peaceful protest, on Monday (July 1, 2019) stormed and vandalized the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong. The protesters were a part of over a thousand people who gathered to protest against the extradition bill as well as a yearly march, marking the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
Apart from the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, the protesters are also demanding for Lam to step down as well as the release of protesters and retraction of the statement in which Lam had termed the protests as a “blatant riot”.
Following the break-in, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carry Lam condemned the violence. “This violence and lawlessness have seriously affected the core values of Hong Kong’s legal system… I feel very indignant and saddened by this and want to strongly condemn it. I believe that the public feels the same,” Lam told reporters in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Over Two Million Came Out To Protest
Last month on June 15, nearly two million took part in a mass protest against the controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong – that would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial, according to organisers. The police had termed the gathering as the largest protest in Hong Kong’s history.
Following the protests, the bill was later suspended. Chief Executive Lam, indicating that the bill would not be revived during the current legislative session, had apologised for the turmoil surrounding the bill. “If we don’t have confidence from the people, we will not proceed with the legislative exercise again,” Lam had said.
However, the protests had continued despite the suspension of the bill. Protesters seeking the ouster of Chief Executive Lam had warned to escalate demonstrations if the bill was not permanently withdrawn from the Legislative Council.
Many critics see the bill as a threat to the rule of law in the former British colony. Currently, Hong Kong enjoys greater autonomy and freedom than mainland China under the principle of “one country, two systems”.
Under “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong has its own legal and economic systems and has more vigorous protection of civil liberties than China.
What Is The Extradition Bill?
The amendment to the extradition bill was formally introduced in April, and it seeks to update existing laws that govern extradition processes and legal assistance between Hong Kong and other jurisdictions. The bill seeks to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance.
Currently, Hong Kong has mutual extradition agreements with jurisdictions of 20 countries and provides legal assistance to 32 countries.
The existing Fugitive Offenders Ordinance was passed just ahead of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty, prohibits extradition and legal assistance to the government of the People’s Republic of China.
Written by : Satendra
Edited by : Shweta Kothari