Protests Over Hong Kong Extradition Bill Escalates

People gather in protest.

Courtesy of theNewYorkTimes

People gather in protest.

Lily Ives, Features Editor

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Following the publishing of the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill, the Hong Kong government faced a sea of protesters.

These demonstrators have disrupted the economy, with revenue being lost, and it has, for example, disrupted the lives of the working class at the Hong Kong airport.

This bill would allow for the extradition of China as well as any other jurisdiction in the world. For reference, extradition is the process in which a criminal will be handed over to the judicial system of whatever foreign country the crime was committed. Previously, Hong Kong had extradition agreements with 20 different countries, the United States and United Kingdom included. The bill itself was put in place after Hong Kong resident Tong-Kai Chan’s murder of his girlfriend, which happened while in Taiwan, then proceeding to fled back to Hong Kong. Under this bill, Hong Kong residents convicted of a crime would be sent to China to face trial.

One of the big reasons that people have been opposed to the passing of this bill is that Hong Kong residents are worried that China would unfairly target political opponents. Hong Kong has been able to experience more freedom than any other people under Chinese rule, and the general public want to keep it that way. 

The protests have seen thousands of participants, reaching their peak, according to police, with 338,000 people. There have been over 1,000 arrests and over 2,000 injuries during these demonstrations. Among the desired outcomes for these protests are more police accountability and a better and stronger democratic government. In broad terms, considering this movement remains leaderless, they want for the bill to be withdrawn, for current Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to step down, and for the arrested protesters to be freed, as well as the aforementioned demands. 

Those in charge in China have attributed these protesters to showing signs of terrorism. Media coverage has been focused on the violence and clashes within these protests to paint a criminal image of these demonstrators.

The bill itself was suspended back in June of this year while Carrie Lam has stated that the extradition bill will be withdrawn. She stated that stopping the violence is of top priority and that violence is an awful thing, no matter the political situation.

“No matter what discontentment the people have towards the government or the society, violence is not the way to resolve problems,” Lam said, according to the BBC.

Some demonstrators have seen this action as being too little too late, hoping that all the demands can be met by the Hong Kong government.

With this recent political turmoil, it is important that we, as mere spectators, work toward developing some sort of understanding about what’s happening and that, as the story develops, we continue to do so.