See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Hong Kong lawyers hold silent march in protest against extradition Bill

The bill will allow extraditions to China.


Written by

Updated: June 7, 2019

With less than a week to go before the divisive extradition Bill goes through a second reading,the pressure on the Hong Kong government to drop the proposed legislation has mounted, with the city’s lawyers marching on Thursday (June 6) in a silent protest.

Almost 3,000 lawyers, all dressed in black, gathered at the Court of Final Appeal for their silent protest – the fifth and biggest of its kind by the city’s legal community since Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

At the government headquarters in Admiralty, Mr Dennis Kwok, the lawmaker representing the legal sector, urged the government to withdraw the Bill immediately.

The much debated Bill will allow Hong Kong to hand over fugitives to various jurisdictions, such as Taiwan and, more importantly, mainland China.

On June 12, the government will table the extradition Bill at a full Legislative Council meeting as it seeks a quick passage of the Bill with the backing of pro-establishment lawmakers.

The move follows the government’s decision to further scale back proposed changes floated in February, in a bid to garner the support of an uneasy business community and pro-Beijing lawmakers.

Last Thursday (May 30), the government said it would allow suspects or fugitives to be extradited if their offence is punishable by seven years’ jail instead of three years’ jail, which was already a departure from the one year stated previously.

The government also said that it would accept and process transfer requests made by only the top judicial authorities of other jurisdictions and not those from provincial authorities.

But many in the political, business, legal and media sectors are still worried about a fugitive’s right to a fair trial and fear that the changes will be used by the Chinese mainland authorities for political persecution – something the Hong Kong government has insisted will not happen.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam previously explained that the proposal will plug an existing loophole in the law and that the amendments “are intended to pursue judicial justice in criminal cases and also to protect the public” so that Hong Kong is not a safe haven for dangerous fugitives. It is a point that Beijing officials have echoed.

The idea for changes to the extradition Bill was floated after a Hong Kong resident, Chan Tong-kai, confessed to killing his girlfriend in Taiwan last year.

The confession came after Chan returned to Hong Kong, which does not have an extradition agreement with Taiwan.

Instead, he was jailed in Hong Kong in April in connection with money-laundering charges. He can be released in October as he had been remanded in custody since his arrest in March last year.

The tweaked proposed Bill was welcomed by influential local bodies, including the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong.

Late last month, the deputy commissioner for the Chinese Foreign Ministry office in Hong Kong, Mr Song Ruan, reassured Hong Kongers that they have nothing to fear as China “respects the jurisdiction” of the local government.

In a video interview released on Thursday, the city’s last British governor, Mr Chris Patten, urged the government not to go ahead with the proposed Bill as it is one that will “strike a terrible blow” against the rule of law, Hong Kong’s stability, security and position as a great international trading hub.

“What these proposals do is to remove the firewall between Hong Kong’s rule of law and the idea of law – which prevails in Communist China – an idea of law where there aren’t any independent courts, where the courts and the security services and the party’s rules… are rolled altogether,” Mr Patten said.

On Wednesday, the Law Society urged the government in a lengthy statement not to rush the introduction of the new legislation.

It called for a thorough review of the relevant laws and asked for additional safeguards such as letting a Hong Kong person accused of crime overseas to dispute and resist an extradition request.

Many in the legal profession worry that the judiciary will be put in a difficult position when handling cases pertaining to requests for transfer of fugitives to the mainland.

And opposition to the proposed Bill seems to have grown stronger with another rally planned for Sunday (June 9).

Lawmaker Claudia Mo told The Straits Times that she believes “momentum has certainly been gained in the past week”.

“Just look at the June 4 turnout… a large part of the massive turnout is a result of the very popular fear of the extradition Bill being passed and so the organisers are confident that we will reach (a crowd of) 300,000 and we hope that will prove to be a slap in the face for (Chief Executive) Carrie Lam,” the pro-democracy Legislative Council member said.

On Tuesday, some 180,000 people gathered at Victoria Park to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown on student protesters 30 years ago.

This Sunday’s event, organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, a coalition of pro-democracy groups, will march from Causeway Bay to Admiralty.

The previous march against the Bill was held in late April and saw a turnout of 130,000 – the largest demonstration since the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

Student Amanda Lam, 22, said she missed the previous marches and will attend Sunday’s event.

“I’m joining the coming one because this might be the last time Hongkongers can be united for such a large-scaled protest for our home,” she added.

So far, a dozen protests, timed to coincide with the coalition’s rally, have been planned in cities such as London, New York and Berlin.

Asked how far Sunday’s rally will go in getting the government to bin the extradition Bill, Ms Mo said it is “realistically not hopeful”.

“So, you ask what’s the point in doing this? First of all, we still believe in miracles in politics. The thing is that you never say never. If you fight, you may not get it, but if you don’t, you definitely won’t get it,” she said.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Schools in Kashmir to reopen on Wednesday

The Modi administration has decided to re-open all the middle schools across Kashmir on Wednesday. The J&K Government on Monday said that after the re-opening of primary schools, it has decided to re-open all middle-level schools across the Kashmir valley from Wednesday. This was stated during a joint evening presser here, addressed by Director Information and Public Relations, Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar, Deputy Inspector General of Police (CKR), VK Birdi and Director School Education Kashmir, Muhammad Younis Malik. The officials said the presence of staff at all the primary level schools on Monday was an encouraging sign and the administration has decided to re-open all the middle schools across Kashmir on Wednesday. Regarding the availability of supply stock in the Valley, it was informed that the essential services like PHE, PDD, Food & Civil Services, etc are working continuously. I


By The Statesman
August 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Seoul summons Japanese envoy over radioactive water disposal plan

Concerns over Fukushima discharge. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Monday sought a detailed explanation on Japan’s reported plan to release radioactive water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, while expressing safety concerns. Climate, Environment, Science and Foreign Affairs Director Kwon Se-jung summoned Tomofumi Nishinaga, economic counselor at the Japanese Embassy here, to convey the government’s concerns on the possible disposal of contaminated water. “Our government very gravely recognizes the impact that the discharge of contaminated water from the Fukushima plant may have on the health and safety of both countries’ citizens, and by extension on all countries along the ocean side,” the ministry said in a press release.


By The Korea Herald
August 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Holding Huawei hostage won’t pay off: China Daily editorial

Editor’s note: Washington has postponed its Huawei decision until after holidays. Early this week, Washington will review its decision on Huawei as scheduled. It put the company on its export-control list on May 15, delaying the restrictions for three months from May 21. Although it might be the US suppliers of Huawei that care more about the outcome than the Chinese telecommunications giant itself, the US should not try to hold Huawei hostage to try and force China into agreeing to an unfair trade deal. Huawei is confident that no power can hold back the pace with which the world will step over the threshold into the 5G era and equally sure of its leadership advantages in that technology, which come from its innovation and foresight. It spends about $20 billion a year on research and development, and it has reportedly already begun research on the next generation 6G telecommunications technology.


By China Daily
August 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

The rise of the militant Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan

Is ISIS on the comeback and rising in Afghanistan. A suicide bombing at a wedding party in Kabul claimed by a local affiliate of the militant Islamic State (IS) group has renewed fears about the growing threat posed by its thousands of fighters, as well as their ability to plot global attacks from a stronghold in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. The attack came as the Afghan Taliban appear to be nearing a deal with the United States to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Now Washington hopes the Afghan Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The US envoy in talks with the Afghan Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the peace process must be accelerated to put Afghanistan in a “much stronger position to defe


By Dawn
August 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Signs of global recession haunt S. Korean economy

Trade wars and economic disputes have harmed the economy. A shadow of global recession looms over key economies as major markets have been dealing with some of their worst days in recent weeks. This is sparking concerns that chances of recession may also be growing on home turf, in South Korea. Last week, the yields on US 10-year Treasurys fell below two-year yields for the first time since 2007 – a phenomenon known as an inverted yield curve. Investors and experts alike are regarding such trend with wariness — every recession in the last 60 years has been preceded by the yield curve inversions. “Every time the US 10-year Treasuries fell below two-year yields, an economic recession came within a time frame of 18 months, which is why we have to be concerned,” Kong Dong-rak, an analyst at Daishin Securities said. “Even if it does not result in a recession, it is definitely a strong si


By The Korea Herald
August 19, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Pakistan questions India’s nuclear arsenal

‘World must seriously consider safety, security of India’s nuclear arsenal in control of fascist Modi’. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday expressed concern about the “safety and security of India’s nuclear arsenal” and urged the international community to take notice. In a series of tweets, the premier said that the fact that India’s nuclear weapons are in the control of “the fascist, racist Hindu supremacist Modi government […] impacts not just the region but the world”. The premier’s statement comes two days after Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh de


By Dawn
August 19, 2019