Published: Mon, June 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hong Kong protest draws hundreds of thousands over extradition bill

Hong Kong protest draws hundreds of thousands over extradition bill

Hong Kong's government isn't backing down, even though organizers say they are drawing more than a million people into the streets for protests.

"It's good to see so many young people standing up for Hong Kong", Stephen Chan said about the protests there.

Hong Kong won the right to its own social, legal and political systems for 50 years after it was transferred from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

For several hours on Sunday, protesters marched in the sweltering heat dressed in white, in a mainly peaceful demonstration that included a wide range of people - from businesspeople and lawyers to students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups.

The Legislative Council is where debates will start on Wednesday to pass new legislation to allow the Hong Kong Government to extradite suspected criminals and fugitives on a case-by-case basis to countries where it does not now have extradition treaties - including mainland China.

"It could really force a severe re-think by the government", he said.

Insurance agents, executives and small entrepreneurs joined bus drivers and mechanics, with Reuters speaking to dozens of people saying it was their first protest march.

It was a dramatic rebuke of Carrie Lam, the city's chief executive, and immediately raised the stakes in her contentious push to adopt the new legislation, which the ruling Communist Party in Beijing has endorsed.

She also mentioned that if the bill is passed, the U.S.is very likely to suspend Hong Kong's status as an independent tariff region, further causing distress to China's economy.

Another Chinese newspaper, the Global Times tabloid, said on Monday Hong Kong opposition groups and their worldwide supporters were "politically hyping up" normal Hong Kong legislative activity.

Debates start at the council on June 5 over the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.

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The latest proposal has come after a 19-year-old Hong Kong man allegedly murdered his 20-year-old pregnant girlfriend while they were holidaying in Taiwan together in February last year.

"It's a proposal, or a set of proposals, which strike a awful blow. against the rule of law, against Hong Kong's stability and security, against Hong Kong's position as a great worldwide trading hub", the territory's last British Governor, Chris Patten, said on Thursday.

"I need to save my daughter".

Hong Kong's leader would start and finally approve an extradition following a request from a foreign jurisdiction but only after court hearings, including any possible appeals. No one will get justice in China.

In response to businesses fear Hong Kong's reputation as a commercial center could be endangered, thr government has removed some economic crimes from the list of extraditable offense. "We know there are no human rights", Chiu added.

Foreign governments have expressed concern at the law, warning of the impact on Hong Kong's reputation as an global financial hub, and noting that foreigners wanted in China risked becoming snared in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong now limits such extraditions to jurisdictions with which it has existing extradition agreements or to others on an individual basis under a law passed before 1997. They also insist broad safeguards mean that anyone at risk of political or religious persecution or who faces torture will not be extradited.

Human rights campaigners say detainees in China face arbitrary detentions, forced confessions and problems in accessing legal support.

Hong Kong officials say suspects who are facing charges with a maximum of at least seven years will be the only ones affected.

According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the Hong Kong government on Sunday said it would continue to address concerns over the controversial bill.

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