July 3, 2019
What you need to know about the extradition Bill protests in Hong Kong.
Hong Kongers have been protesting against a since-suspended extradition Bill for weeks. Here’s a primer to get you up to speed.
1. WHAT ARE THE PROTESTS ABOUT?
Hong Kongers are protesting a controversial extradition Bill, which if passed, will allow suspects to be sent to other jurisdictions, including mainland China. Protesters worry that the Bill would erode Hong Kong’s judicial independence, and be used by Beijing to target critics.
2. WHEN DID THE PROTESTS START?
Mass demonstrations began on June 9, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in a united display of their unhappiness. A week later on June 16, even larger crowds turned out, with organisers putting the number at two million. By then, the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam had suspended the extradition Bill.
3. WHAT DO PROTESTERS WANT?
Their core demands include wanting the government to completely withdraw the extradition Bill; to rescind characterisation of the June 12 protest as a “riot”; to drop all charges against protesters who were arrested; and to set up an independent investigation committee to look into alleged abuse of power by the police.
4. HOW HAS BEIJING RESPONDED?
Up until Tuesday (July 2), there has been a virtual media blackout on the protests in mainland China. Officially, Beijing has hit back at foreign interference, blaming countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom for stoking tensions in the city.
5. WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK?
Protests took a violent turn on Monday as Hong Kong marked the 22nd anniversary of its return to Chinese rule. While it is traditionally a day when Hong Kongers take to the streets to air their grievances on issues of the day, a group of radical student protesters also stormed the city’s Legislative Council (LegCo) even as mass street demonstrations were going on elsewhere.