Hong Kong protests continue after government withdraws extradition law
A protester is confronted by riot police during a massive demonstration outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Protests against a proposed bill that would allow extraditions to the rest of China continue in Hong Kong, despite the city's government withdrawing the proposed measure. | Kin Cheung / AP

Thousands of protesters continued to rally in Hong Kong today demanding the special administrative region drop a proposed law that would allow the extradition of suspects to the rest of China on a case-by-case basis.

The demonstrations are also calling for the resignation of the territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Hong Kong authorities have paused implementation of the law because of the giant protests. Organizers say they are opposed to the law because it is a threat to the “one country, two systems” policy agreed to when Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 after 155 years of British colonial rule. They say that the law would allow mainland authorities to target political opponents and use the law to extradite them out of Hong Kong.

A key protest organizer is the Civil Human Rights Front, which lists the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy-funded Hong Kong Human Rights Movement among its constituent organizations.

Currently, Hong Kong lacks an extradition arrangement with China, and authorities say this allows Chinese criminals to flee to the city and avoid justice. China Daily journalist Ian Goodrum argues that “there’s [currently] no legal way to prevent criminals in other parts of China from escaping charges by fleeing to Hong Kong.” He says, “It would be like Louisiana—which, you’ll remember, has a unique justice system—refusing to send fugitives to Texas or California for crimes committed in those states.”

Hong Kong only has extradition arrangements with 20 states, not including the rest of China, its fellow special administrative region Macao, or Taiwan. Supporters of the law, such as Chinese commentator Zhong Xiangyu, have pointed out that Taiwan is currently unable to bring to trial a Hong Kong citizen wanted for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend because of the lack of an extradition treaty between the two jurisdictions.

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Morning Star

Morning Star is the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. Morning Star es el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña.