Hong Kong media say controversial extradition bill may be suspended

Daniel Fowler
June 15, 2019

But in reality, this is Umbrella Movement 2.0.

Hong Kong lawmakers have made a decision to cancel two days of planned meetings from Monday to deliberate on a controversial extradition bill, local media reported Friday, effectively delaying a vote that was expected to happen later next week.

It exposes the fundamental flaws of the ideals of "one country, two systems" as China grew stronger as an economic power that attempts to challenge the dominance of the West, while Hong Kong's attempts to hold onto its identity and accidentally embroils itself in these global conflicts.

Hui, who attended the protests, says that this shift is one of the reasons he and other pro-democratic legislators have turned directly to the people of Hong Kong.

On Sunday and again on Wednesday, Hong Kong saw mass protests against what is widely known as the extradition bill - proposed amendments to the Chinese special administration region's (SAR's) laws created to allow the case-by-case extradition of wanted fugitives to countries with which Hong Kong has no extradition treaty.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned earlier this week that should the extradition proposal become law in Hong Kong, the US Congress would have "no choice but to reassess whether Hong Kong is "sufficiently autonomous" to justify the special trade arrangement.

Protesters march along a road demonstrating against a proposed extradition bill in Hong Kong, China, June 12, 2019.

The busy downtown area was calm Friday morning after days of protests by students and human right activists. A lot of them back Beijing.

Many worry that Hong Kong is being absorbed into China - losing the characteristics that make it unique among Chinese cities.

"If the flame of the Hong Kong spreads to the mainland, then it will be very bad for them", he said.

This is not just about freedom and democracy - the intangible ideals that many pragmatic Hongkongers would find hard to grasp.

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Chinese state media characterises the demonstrations in Hong Kong as a "riot" and accusing protesters of "violent acts".

This is further complicated by the tension between China and the USA, over an ongoing trade war and political conflicts.

While the makeshift barricades of metal fences and plastic barriers surrounding the government complex and Legco have been dismantled, the mood in Hong Kong remains tense. There is also some resentment directed at Hong Kong people who are believed to have taken jobs away from local residents. The city was returned to China from British rule in 1997.

Lam said not all Taiwanese welcome Hong Kong immigrants, however.

Things are already set in motion.

Le urged the USA to treat Hong Kong "objectively and fairly", the ministry said in a statement. The piece, also picked up by People's Daily, was not subtle in its title: "Hong Kong's mainstream public opinion supports the SAR in amending the "Fugitive Offenders Ordinance" and preventing Hong Kong from becoming a 'fugitive's paradise'". The amendments, if approved, could remove the special status of Hong Kong and tariffs applied to Hong Kong exports will be the same as that to China.

The city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam, who is facing mounting pressure to abandon the extradition legislation, has so far refused to meet protester demands to withdraw or scrap the bill. A group of former senior government officials issued a public letter urging her not to force a confrontation by pushing ahead with the unpopular bills. Is she merely executing Beijing's order? China's ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming told BBC that the extradition bill was the Hong Kong government's own idea.

Yet the mostly young throngs of well-organized protesters seemed little deterred by such threats, even as they took pains to remain anonymous by wearing masks, declining to give their full names to journalists and using cash rather than stored value cards to buy subway tickets.

Calls to Lam's office went unanswered outside of business hours.

Protests over Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill have subsided for now but more, potentially bigger, rallies are on the horizon.

Executive Council Convenor Bernard Chan appearing on an RTHK program in 2017. Lam has failed her job spectacularly. And how things pan out in the coming weeks will depend on whether Lam can rectify her mistakes before it is too late.

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