Hong Kong braces for new mass protests against planned extraditions to China

12th Jun 2019    |    Source: reuters.com

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World News June 11, 2019 / 3:20 AM / Updated 12 minutes ago Hong Kong braces for new mass protests against planned extraditions to China Clare Jim, Jessie Pang 6 Min Read HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong braced for strikes, transport go-slows and another mass demonstration in protest against a proposed extradition law that would allow people to be sent to China for trial, as the Chinese-ruled city’s leader vowed defiance. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she would push ahead with the bill despite deep concerns across vast swaths of the Asian financial hub that triggered its biggest political demonstration since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997. In a rare move, prominent business leaders warned that pushing through the extradition law could undermine investor confidence in Hong Kong and erode its competitive advantages. Related Coverage China says Hong Kong matters purely an internal affair The extradition bill, which has generated unusually broad opposition at home and abroad, is due for a second round of debate on Wednesday in the city’s 70-seat Legislative Council. The legislature is controlled by a pro-Beijing majority. An online petition has called for 50,000 people to surround the legislature building at 10 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Tuesday and remain until Wednesday. Britain handed Hong Kong back to China under a “one-country, two-systems” formula, with guarantees that its autonomy and freedoms, including an independent justice system, would be protected. But many accuse China of extensive meddling, denying democratic reforms, interfering with local elections and the disappearance of five Hong Kong-based booksellers, starting in 2015, who specialized in works critical of Chinese leaders. Sunday’s protests plunged Hong Kong into political crisis, just as months of pro-democracy “Occupy” demonstrations did in 2014, heaping pressure on Lam’s administration and her official backers in Beijing. She warned against any “radical actions”, following clashes in the early hours of Monday between some protesters and police after Sunday’s otherwise peaceful march. Police erected metal barriers to secure the council building as a small number of protesters started to gather on Tuesday evening despite torrential rain and thunderstorm warnings. Police conducted random ID checks at train stations. Pro-democracy legislator Claudia Mo and protest organiser Jimmy Sham demonstrate outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong, China June 11, 2019