See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Politics

Hong Kong leader defiant despite protest over extradition bill.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says extradition Bill has to be passed as opponents call for fresh protests.


Written by

Updated: June 11, 2019

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”.

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.

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.

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.

“So as responsible officials standing here, we are duty bound to address that deficiency,” she said.

On the issue of safeguarding human rights, Mrs Lam said the additional safeguards proposed were in line with international norms and would “have legal binding effect on the government because we will put that into a very solid policy statement to be delivered by the Secretary for Security”.

Following feedback from some political parties Sunday night, the government has also decided to provide regular updates to lawmakers on extradition cases, if the Bill goes through.

To help the Security Bureau and the Department of Justice to start negotiations on such long term agreements, Mrs Lam said she would beef up staff and resources in those divisions.

She also appealed to lawmakers and the public to continue discussions in a calm, rational and peaceful manner.

In response to her speech, organisers of Sunday’s rally called for another protest on Wednesday.

Mr Jimmy Sham, convenor of the coalition behind Sunday’s mass protest said after Mrs Lam’s address: “On June 12, we expect that the Civil Human Rights Front will start the rally at 10am.”

Local radio station RTHK reported that Mr Fernando Cheung from the Labour Party had discussed with the Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union and social welfare sector lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun’s office over the possibility of mobilising social workers to surround the Legislative Council on Wednesday, as well as organising more strikes later on.

Separately, more than fifty companies including retail outlets, bookshops, cafes and restaurants, have announced online that they are going on strike on Wednesday.

Sunday’s protest was the biggest in the territory since 1997 when it was returned to the Chinese by the British.

Police estimates of the turnout for the protest was far below the more than a million put forward by organisers.  Police said it was 240,000 at the rally’s peak.

But the largely peaceful protest turned violent overnight on Sunday when protesters clashed with the police at the government headquarters in Admiralty.

Eight police officers were injured, besides a journalist and some protestors.

Early on Monday, police commissioner Stephen Lo condemned the violence that broke out after the mass rally and vowed to bring all those responsible for the clashes to justice.

In an afternoon briefing, the police said 19 people had been arrested with more expected and that more than 80 per cent of the 350 protestors who participated in the protest at the government headquarters overnight on Sunday were under the age of 25.

Police described items left behind by the group as “quite alarming.” They included knives and scissors.

Following Mrs Lam’s statement, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said the government condemned the “radical action” taken by a small number of people who attempted to storm the Legislative Council complex.

He said the fact that the government had amended the proposal twice showed it was sincere in responding to people’s concerns and respects the different views about the bill.

In a statement on Monday, members of the non-official Executive Council reiterated their support for the Bill, saying it prevented Hong Kong from becoming “a bolt-hole for criminals” and would safeguard the city’s “international reputation in the legal aspects”.

They also expressed regret over the violent acts by a a small number of protesters.

But pan-democratic lawmakers accused the government of triggering the violence and called on Mrs Lam to quit for causing instability in Hong Kong.

They said the government’s statement to push ahead with the changes was issued at 11pm, an hour after the rally ended.

Shortly after the statement was issued, some protesters charged at police officers with metal barriers and threw bottles at them outside the government complex.



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

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

Diplomacy, Politics

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

Diplomacy, Politics

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

Diplomacy, Politics

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

Diplomacy, Politics

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

Diplomacy, Politics

China condemns US politicians’ Hong Kong statements

The statements were recorded in all the State-Run papers. Recent statements from US politicians violated the spirit of rule of law and interfered with China’s internal affairs, a spokesman with the country’s top legislature said on Saturday. You Wenze, spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, said some US politicians have glorified violent crimes in Hong Kong as protests for human rights and freedom, while smearing as violent suppression Hong Kong police efforts at law enforcement and maintaining social order. He said some politicians have threatened for US Congress to pass a so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which “severely violated the spirit of rule of law, showed clear double standards and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs”. You’s remarks came in response to several statements from US


By China Daily
August 19, 2019