Published: Mon, June 17, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump to raise Hong Kong protests with Xi at G20: Pompeo

Trump to raise Hong Kong protests with Xi at G20: Pompeo

While Lam said the bill had "laudable objectives" in combating worldwide crime, protesters are concerned that an extradition agreement would allow Hong Kongers to be handed over to courts controlled by the Communist Party in mainland China, where a fair trial is not guaranteed.

Unlike last week, when police and protesters fought violent street battles, the demonstrators were calm and orderly and yielded the streets back to police after negotiations.

At the march's end, hundreds sat wearily around the government headquarters.

Lam's office put out a statement late on Sunday admitting that shortcomings in how her administration handled the law had "led to a lot of conflict and disputes" and "disappointed and distressed many citizens".

Critics have stated that the law threatened Hong Kong's reputation as an Asian financial hub, while some Hong Kong tycoons have already started moving personal wealth offshore.

But she said she was suspending the bill indefinitely. Lam's decision only further fueled public anger as the bill, which would allow extraditions to mainland China, has not been completely withdrawn.

On Thursday more than twenty photojournalists wore helmets, gas masks and protective clothing to a police press conference in Hong Kong to express their outrage at the violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations.

Opposition to the extradition bill has united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong, from influential legal and business bodies to religious leaders.

The marchers want Lam to scrap the extradition bill, which is supported by the communist leadership in Beijing, and to resign.

The bill, which would afford China extradition powers that now do not exist, was suspended this week after the enormous backlash but a protest that followed the suspension suggests Hong Kong will accept nothing less than the bill being scrapped entirely.

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The nationalistic Global Times has run commentaries accusing the USA of interference.

The government says that the measure is necessary to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a haven for criminals, and adds that political offenses will not be covered by the law.

Beijing's grip over Hong Kong has intensified markedly since the time Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012, and after the city's protracted 2014 pro-democracy street protests. Prosecutors came after him and numerous Umbrella Movement's leaders.

Many here believe Hong Kong's legal autonomy has been significantly diminished despite Beijing's insistence that it is still honouring its promise, dubbed "one country, two systems", that the territory can retain its own social, legal and political system for 50 years after the handover from Britain in 1997.

She has sidestepped questions over whether she should quit and also defended how the police dealt with last week's clashes with demonstrators. She refused to apologize, however, for the fallout that rained down on the city in the week prior.

Chinese censors have been working hard to erase or block news of the latest series of protests - the largest since crowds demonstrated against the bloody suppression of pro-democracy activists in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square in June 1989 - amid concerns that any large public rallies could inspire demonstrations on the mainland. In particular she swore to uphold the principle of "one government, two systems." and to defend the former British colony's "core values" despite Beijing's clear support for her candidacy. Searches on China's Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo for "Hong Kong protests", only yields official Chinese foreign ministry statements that have called such rallies, "riots" or "behaviour that undermines Hong Kong's peace and stability".

Lam's reversal was hailed by business groups including the American Chamber of Commerce, which had spoken out strongly against the bill, and overseas governments.

Hong Kong and Taiwan's government in Taipei do not share a long-term extradition agreement or formal diplomatic relations, so Chan could only be convicted for the the crime of money laundering and not murder, according to the South China Morning Post.

The judicial system in China is known for forced confessions, human rights abuses and torture.

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