See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Politics

Mass protest in Hong Kong over extradition law

Proposed changes to extradition law in Hong Kong draws record number to the streets.


Written by

Updated: June 10, 2019

In what organisers described as the biggest protest seen in the territory since it was returned to the Chinese by the British in 1997, hundreds of thousands took to the streets on Sunday (June 9) to pressure the government to undo changes to an unpopular extradition law which critics charged could be used against opponents of Beijing.

The rally came ahead  of the second reading of the legislation on Wednesday (June 12) as the government moves to secure its quick passage with the backing of pro-establishment lawmakers.

Rally organisers, the Civil Human Rights Front, a coalition of pro-democracy groups estimated the turnout at more than half a million but police put the figure at 240,000.

“Peoples’ power is very strong. We believe that if we come out and we say what we believe in, it can bring change, we have seen it happen in the past,” Ms Omana said, referring to agitation previously against proposed tighter national security laws.

In 2003, some 500,000 people hit the streets to oppose the government plans on the national security laws which were later shelved.

Another protester, Benjamin L, 42, said he believed many of those who openly support the government were secretly opposed to the changes to the extradition law “but they need Hong Kong people to come out and protest, to give them some courage to say no”.

The Bill, which could be passed by the end of June, is meant to allow Hong Kong to hand over fugitives to various jurisdictions, such as Taiwan and mainland China.

It came about after a Hong Kong resident, Chan Tong-kai, confessed to killing his girlfriend in Taiwan last year, but he remains in the city as it does not have an extradition agreement with Taiwan.

The proposed changes were floated in February and subsequently scaled back twice after wide opposition, including from businessmen, diplomats, local and foreign business chambers, lawyers and journalists.

The massive turnout on Sunday is expected to add to mounting pressure for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to drop the proposed changes. Mrs Lam has said there is no going back.

On 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 has also assured that there are sufficient human rights safeguards and protection of the local judiciary.

But Ms Suki Chung, 39, of Amnesty International in Hong Kong said these safeguards are not written into the law itself.

“It is actually a very dangerous threat to Hong Kong people, in particular to human rights defenders, people like us in non-governmental organisations. We are actually facing the risk of being extradited any time soon by any excuse by the Chinese government,” she said.

The massive turnout on Sunday meant that thousands were still gathered at Victoria Park, waiting to march, four hours after the rally began. The first batch of protesters reached the government’s headquarters in Admiralty in under two hours.

Many of the protesters parked themselves around the gates of the complex, demanding a dialogue with the authorities. They said their sit-in would remain until Wednesday, if no dialogue was possible on Sunday night.

The rally kicked off earlier at 2.20pm, 40 minutes earlier than scheduled as Victoria Park became too crowded. Some of those who gathered were spotted carrying yellow umbrellas – a symbol of the 2014 Umbrella Movement that brought the city’s main arteries to a halt for 79 days.

Students accompanied by their parents came, along with the elderly armed with their walking sticks and young couples pushing prams. All made their way slowly in 32 degree heat, chanting “Step down, Carrie Lam!” and “No China extradition, no evil law”.

More than two hours after the rally began, metal barriers toppled and the crowd that initially spread over two lanes, spilled over to occupy all four lanes of Hennessy Road, a main thoroughfare.

The police were forced to open the eastbound lanes of Hennessy Road, kept free for emergency access, after scuffles broke out at a particularly packed section near the Canal Road flyover.

At least seven people were arrested along the protest route for a number of offences including theft, common assault and assaulting police.

The deluge of protesters led to overcrowded trains on the island line and train operator MTR had to initiate crowd control measures at various stations, including at Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok in Kowloon.



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

Diplomacy, Politics

China’s coronavirus fight remains challenging

 Key Party meeting calls for full vigilance in control, prevention tasks to avoid risks. The novel coronavirus epidemic in Hubei province is still complicated and challenging, a key Party meeting concluded on Wednesday as it drew attention to the risks of the epidemic rebounding in other areas. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, presided over the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in which members listened to a report by the leading group of the CPC Central Committee on coping with the epidemic outbreak and discussed key related tasks. At the meeting, Xi and other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee donate


By China Daily
February 27, 2020

Diplomacy, Politics

UN chief hails China’s efforts to contain outbreak

Official urges all countries to ‘do everything to be prepared’ to contain the epidemic. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday praised China’s contribution to the global fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, noting that the Chinese people are making efforts for all of humanity. The UN chief expressed his gratitude to all of the people in China who are sacrificing many aspects of their normal lives to prevent the virus from further spreading, after discussing the outbreak with World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva. Guterres said the decline in the number of new cases in China since the beginning of February is a very good sign, and he expressed the hope that this trend


By China Daily
February 26, 2020

Diplomacy, Politics

WHO calls China’s anti-virus effort ‘aggressive, agile’

Control measures taken by the country offered experience in improving the global response to the disease. While the substantial recent slowdown in the spread of novel coronavirus in China is real, and it is now reasonable to restore work activities step by step, health experts warned that risks abound of the virus flaring up again and they cautioned against complacency, the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 said at a news conference after its one-week field investigations in China. “Ambitious, agile and aggressive” control measures taken by China to control the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, bolstered by nationwide solidarity and advanced scientific research, have altered the curve of the outbreak for the better, averted a large number of potentia


By China Daily
February 25, 2020

Diplomacy, Politics

Map shows latest tally of Covid-19 cases in Taiwan, Taipei tops list

 After Taiwan reported its first confirmed cases, health authorities finally released on Monday the latest tally of Covid-19 cases in each administrative region, with Taipei being the highest.  More than one month after Taiwan reported its first confirmed cases, health authorities finally released on Monday the latest tally of COVID-19 cases in each administrative region, with Taipei being the highest. An interactive map on the website of Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows the cities and counties where the country’s 28 coronavirus patients currently reside. Marked in red, the capital city has listed sev


By Asia News Network
February 24, 2020

Diplomacy, Politics

Asean, China enhance cooperation in response to Covid-19

The Asean Coordinating Council (ACC) and the Asean-China Foreign Ministers met on Thursday in Laos to discuss to how to respond to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The ACC’s special meeting, initiated by Vietnam as Chair of ASEAN, was attended by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN member countries and the ASEAN Secretary-General. Chairing the meeting, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the event aimed to implement the ASEAN Chair’s Statement released on February 14 on the bloc’s collective response to COVID-19. Minh said that in the face of the epidemic, ASEAN needed to promote its cohesive and responsive spirit, and intensify co-operation within the bloc and between the bloc and its partners to respond to ch


By Viet Nam News
February 21, 2020

Diplomacy, Politics

EDITORIAL: China’s foreign minister to attend special meeting with Asean on virus

China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend a special Asean-China foreign ministers’ meeting in Laos this week to discuss the coronavirus outbreak. China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend a special Asean-China foreign ministers’ meeting in Laos this week to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, which has battered manufacturing and tourism across the region and led to an array of travel restrictions. Mr Wang will co-chair the meeting with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin from the Philippines, which is the Asean-China country coordinator, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced yesterday. The event on Thursday in Vientiane will be attended by other foreign ministers


By The Straits Times
February 20, 2020