Hong Kong on edge as pressure grows to delay fugitive bill

Police shooting tear gas close to a journalist at a short distance

Police shooting tear gas close to a journalist at a short distance

In a radio call-in program on RTHK Friday, Executive Council convenor Bernard Chan, who advises Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, acknowledged that he had underestimated opposition to the measure, particularly from the business community.

Of the 70 seats in Hong Kong's Legislative Council, half are directly elected.

"Relevant people in the United States [should] abandon the illusion of attempting to mess up Hong Kong", Mr Geng said. If Liu was telling the truth, then the responsibility of causing more than a million people to take to the streets - the largest protest Hong Kong has seen since the 1989 protest against the Tiananmen Square crackdown - and the subsequent protests and chaos rests on the shoulders of Lam. Telegram, a popular messaging app being used to help organize the protests, reported a "state actor-sized DDoS" attack using "IP addresses coming mostly from China". It's a fairly standard response from China to any protest movements within the country, but particularly jarring when compared to media reports from within Hong Kong itself.

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

Another protest is planned for this Sunday.

On Wednesday, the worldwide finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence since before its 1997 handover, as riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

The Trump administration is unlikely to move to revise a 1992 act that gives Hong Kong special trade and business privileges unless there is a dramatic escalation by China in response to street protests there, a senior USA official said. "It would be very hard", Chan said, according to The South China Morning Post.

Tests conducted by Reuters on Wednesday showed that some mainland Wechat users could not receive images of the Hong Kong protests, including demonstrators amid tear gas. The three objectives of the protest are listed as: 1) Getting the extradition bill withdrawn.

The article does not mention the mass anti-extradition protests until near the end. "Twenty or 30 years ago, we saw mobs like that during the Kuomintang (KMT) authoritarian regime, whenever people came out onto the streets".

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Le urged the U.S. to treat Hong Kong "objectively and fairly", the ministry said in a statement.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has condemned the violence. A wide swath of Hong Kongers, from legal scholars to grandparents and college students, fear that would allow authorities in Beijing to demand the arrest and extradition of activists based in Hong Kong on nebulous national security charges.

Freeweibo.com, which tracks censored posts on the Weibo platform, said "Hong Kong" was the most-searched topic in the past few days.

Dykes says comparisons with other extradition laws are invalid because China clearly has the upper hand over Hong Kong, which is a special administrative region within China rather than a country in its own right. It has also argued that it strengthens rule of law.

In a trend that could be damning for the worldwide finance hub, some businesses say they would consider moving if the controversial bill - which has provoked a huge backlash in the city - is passed.

Lam says the proposals have been modified to safeguard human rights, but Ted Hui, a member of the Legislative Council (Legco), Hong Kong's parliament, says that pro-democracy legislators like him have not been able to add key amendments meant to reinforce human rights protections.

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could shape the agenda at an extraordinary debate in the Legislative Yuan next week, during which a much-needed Refugee Law will likely be discussed.

Opponents of the law say it would fatally undermine Hong Kong's economy and way of life by allowing both residents and visitors to be sent to China for trial in opaque courts controlled by the Communist party.

Ms Lam's government has also said suspects accused of political and religious crimes will not be extradited, insisting legally binding human rights safeguards will also be in place. "What has happened on the mainland innumerable times validates this".

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