Floods of people in Hong Kong wearing black gathered near legislative and administrative centre demanding current Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to step down from her position after opting to suspend rather than withdraw the controversial Extradition Bill.
Organisers and police have different estimates for the number of people attending the protests, ranging from 338,000 to 2 Million. This has led the government to issue a public apology, as reported by CNBC. There have been clashes between the protesters and governments in the past, many of the protesters feared for the young, as they might become targets to harsh punishment and police brutality. In defence of their actions, police officials believe that their actions were necessary to quell the ‘rioters’, a term that sparked anger amongst protesters.
Carrie Lam’s Resignation: A Necessity?
Many have spoken for and against the resignation of the current leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam. One of them being Joshua Wong, a prominent democracy activist based in Hong Kong who has recently been released from jail amid the ongoing protests. Wong soon after calls for the resignation of Carrie Lam, as according to him her ascension to the seat of leadership was not by the consensus of the Hong Kong people. Others like Executive Council Governor Bernard Chan ask the public to give Carrie Lam a second chance, noting her achievements for the past two years since she has entered office. Despite the pressure, Carrie Lam ended up not resigning, while suspending the bill for an indefinite time.
The Extradition Bill: What is it?
The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 were proposed as a means to fill the gap in Hong Kong’s judicial process on solving transnational criminal activities. As reported by the South China Morning Post, the bill will allow convicts from Hong Kong to be extradited into Taiwan, Macau, and Mainland China. Opposers of this law states that this will undermine Hong Kong’s independent judiciary, and accuses the current government to have pro-Beijing sentiments.
The bill was inspired by a case in which a Hong Kong man murdered her pregnant Taiwanese girlfriend, yet was not able to be extradited due to both areas not having a mutual extradition agreement.
Despite the attempts made by the Hong Kong government to alleviate the backlash from the passing of the law, protests happen on the 12th of June 2019. This led to clashes between the police and protesters. In addition to the protests, many businesses have moved From Their assets overseas as a result of the Bill’s ratification, as reported by the Japan Times.