Monday, 16 September, 2019

Hong Kong protests explained

Hong Kong protesters 2 September 2019                  REUTERS  Kai Pfaffenbach Hong Kong protesters 2 September 2019 REUTERS Kai Pfaffenbach
Russell Knight | 04 September, 2019, 12:43

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is set to announce the formal withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that sparked months of protests, according to local media reports.

Reports then emerged that a full withdrawal to the bill was on the cards.

On June 15, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam issued a reversal of the bill, indefinitely delaying it.

The protests in the former British colony began in June over the bill, which would have allowed extraditions to mainland China where courts are controlled by the Communist Party but have since evolved into a push for greater democracy.

They also want democratic reforms to Hong Kong's government and an independent inquiry into police actions against protesters.

Tsai's comments come at a time when some politicians and non-governmental organizations (NGO) are calling for refugee legislation that would grant asylum to Hongkongers who face riot charges for taking part in the anti-extradition bill protests.

Lam has previously said the bill was "dead" and admitted she had caused "unforgivable havoc" by introducing it. Aggressive police tactics, threats by Beijing to deploy the People's Liberation Army and sweeping arrest of pro-democracy figures have raised fears about Hong Kong's autonomy and political freedom and drawn global condemnation.

Great snakes two-headed serpent spotted in Bali
Great snakes two-headed serpent spotted in Bali

That speculation sparked a frenzy on the stock market which has been battered by both China's trade war with the United States and Beijing's refusal to find a political solution to the weeks of protests in the global financial hub.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has been hammered by three months of huge, sometimes violent, protests that were initially sparked by a plan to allow suspects to be extradited to the Chinese mainland.

On Tuesday she said she had never discussed resignation with Beijing and believed her government could solve the crisis without Beijing's help.

Hong Kong's private sector activity declined at the fastest pace in more than a decade in August as protests and an escalating trade war hit demand, data showed today.

The mostly young protesters say that a degree of violence is necessary to get the government's attention after peaceful rallies were futile. Beijing has said giving Hong Kong universal suffrage is out of the question.

China denies it is meddling in Hong Kong's affairs but warned again on Tuesday that it would not sit idly by if the unrest threatened Chinese security and sovereignty.

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