There is an ongoing 1 year of Anti-China protest taking place in Hong Kong. The protest is against the Hong Kong government introducing the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill. If this bill will be enacted, then it will allow extradition to jurisdictions to happen where Hong Kong still lacks extradition agreements including Taiwan and Mainland China. It is a concern that has led to thoughts that the bill will have to subject citizens in Hong Kong and visitors through a legal system as experienced in mainland China. That will, therefore, undermine the autonomy of Hong Kong and infringement of civil liberties as reported by BBC News.
What we will discuss
- What was reported by New York Times?
- Washington Post Argued!
- Speech of Stephen Lo
- What Were the Demands for Protesting?
- Retraction of riots
- Release of arrested protestors
- Establishing an independent commission
- Carrie Lam resignation
What was reported by New York Times?
- The New York Times also reported that protesters had to surround their government’s offices although a smothering police force did push them until they abandoned their plan. They started by blocking traffic during lunch hour at the financial district, but the police force pelted the protesters using rubber bullets.
- Moreover, the Hong Kong residence also gathered in malls so that they can chant protest slogans of where they were rounded up and pushed towards the police buses.
- During that time, the Hong Kong police did arrest more than 350 protesters that day. Some of the people arrested were teens who were students and in the early 20s and charged against suspicion of unauthorized assembly.
- There have been various anti-government protests that have roiled the semi-autonomous city for months now. For people, the anger still remains palpable. Protests also swelled again when Beijing did announce that it has to impose national security laws.
- Grievances against the excessive use of force by police have become a burning issue. There should be a law to criminalize disrespect of the country’s national anthem which has stirred fear because of the cherished freedoms of speech in Hong Kong as reported by The New York Times.
Washington Post Argued!
- During the protest day in Hong Kong as argued by Washington Post, the Chinese flag (fire-red) was hoisted, and then the Chinese anthem. However, due to threats from the angry Protestants, the officials had to watch while inside the convention center. That time, there was no planned fireworks display as it was canceled.
- The demonstrations resulted in panic chaos at the end of the day. Police were forced to use huge amounts of water cannons mixed with blue dye, tear gas and baton charges while clearing away the protestors. Although in the crowd there were some protestors who were peaceful while others did throw gasoline bombs and bricks to police.
Speech of Stephen Lo
- Stephen Lo, Hong Kong police commissioner held a news conference close to midnight. In his speech, he claimed that police arrested over 180 people who were protesting, and that led to a total of 2,000 people who had been arrested by 9th June 2019. During the protest, there were 25 police officers who got injuries as some protesters were throwing corrosive liquid to police officers.
- Another video leaked in the media which was filled at Hong Kong University by Student’s Union through Campus TV. It showed that there was a protester in Tsuen Wan neighborhood who dressed in black, wearing a respirator and helmet. The unidentified protestant also had a homemade shield. The police officer shot the protestant with a revolver. In the video, it indicated that the man was swinging a rod to the officer before he was forced to fire once using his gun at a close range.
What Were the Demands for Protesting?
At initial protests, the demand was the withdrawal of the enacted extradition bill. However, after the severity of policing tactics that occurred during the 12th June 2019 demonstration to the protestors, there are more demands than protestors want to be fulfilled.
Completely withdrawal of enacted extradition bill at the legislative process: later the chief executive, he announced there has been a suspension of that bill on 15th June 2019. The reading of the case was to resume quickly. At last on 23rd October 2019, the bill was formally withdrawn.
Retraction of riots
According to the government, it characterized the protestors that took place on 12th June 2019 as “riots”. It was later that it amended that it is some protesters that rioted. Through the government’s characterization of those protests as riots, so those arrested were to spend a 10-year jail term.
Release of arrested protesters
Protestors did consider those arrests done during the protest day as politically motivated. Besides, they also questioned the legitimacy of arrests that took place at the hospitals through breach of patient privacy by accessing the confidential medical data.
Establishing an independent commission into police conduct against the use of excessive force during protests
- There are some civil groups that felt the level of violence that police used on protestants on 12th June 2019 was unjustified. It was argued that the protestors had their right and therefore not committing any crime or offense but were set upon.
- The police did also perform stop-and-search on various passers-by at that time near the protest site was also considered as abusive of people’s rights. Some officers failed to show their identification number or a warrant card although the police General had ordered them to do so, and therefore regarded as breakdown accountability.
- There was also a complaint that the existing watchdog which is an independent police complaint council was lacking independence as their functions were relying on police co-operation. Therefore, there were a number of allegations regarding police brutality and misconduct. So, the protestors in Hong Kong had to call for the disbanding of the police force.
Carrie Lam resignation
Carrie Lam resignation, the election of new chief executive and implementing universal suffrage in the legislative Council elections
- In the current constitution, the chief executive will be selected by Election Committee members who are 1,200 in number.
- Other responsible people are 30 from the 70 legislative council seats which are filled by different sectors in the economy and help in the formation of functional constituencies of which most of them have few electors.
Word of the police officer who shot a protester did spread quickly through the groups of demonstrators. Some gasped as others were left in tears.