Citizens Of Hong Kong Continue To Protest Unpoluar Bill
“If confirmed, it would be the largest protest in Hong Kong’s history. Police said turnout was 338,000 at its peak. The masses turned out despite the suspension of the bill – which would allow extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China – on Saturday. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Sunday apologized for proposing the bill,” read a BBC report concerning the continuing large protests in Hong Kong on Sunday. According to organizers, nearly two million individuals have taken part in protests over the past week.
“I feel deep sorrow and regret that deficiencies in our work – and various other factors – have stirred up substantial controversies,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated late last week after originally refusing to retract a bill which would have allowed mass extraditions of Hong Kong residents to mainland China.
“Her government cannot be an effective government, and will have much, much, much difficulties to carry on,” veteran Democratic Party legislator James To said government-funded broadcaster RTHK. “I believe the central people’s government will accept her resignation,” the Guardian reported.
Social worker Brian Chau summarized why citizens of Hong Kong remain upset with Lam, “We cannot accept her apology, it doesn’t remove all our threats.” The Sunday protests came after Lam indefinitely delayed the bill, but came short of completely withdrawing it from consideration.
“Suspending the law but not cancelling [sic] it is like holding a knife over someone’s head and saying, ‘I’m not going to kill you now’, but you could do it any time…” said Betty, an 18-year-old protester according to The Guardian, “…we’re fighting for our freedom.”
Helier Cheung out of the BBC News bureau gave the following analysis.
Mere days ago, Ms Lam had vowed to press ahead with the unpopular legislation – now she has promised to “listen to different views from society”.
But for many protesters, the damage has already been done, and the move to delay – but not cancel – the legislation is unlikely to assuage their concerns.
One protester told me he believed the government was “trying to divert attention away until opposition calms down – and then they’ll try to re-do the whole process again”.
Others said they would still take part in a march against the proposal planned for Sunday.
“Our final goal is to cancel the law, not to pause it. I think there will still be many people coming out tomorrow,” a student leader told me.
Citizens of Hong Kong believe any such bill would be used by China to target political opponents of the Chinese government which is known for human rights abuses, including the current imprisonment of Uygur Muslims. While China is responsible for defense and foreign affairs of Hong Kong, the ‘special administrative region’ enjoys a great deal of autonomy.
Currently, Freedom House ranks Hong Kong as ‘partly free’ with a 59/100 rating. China, on the other hand; is rated as ‘not free’ with an 11/100 freedom score. Adservers believe China’s influence has led to Hong Kong becoming a less free state over the past several years. Amnesty International published the following report in March of this year.
“The Hong Kong government is being far more aggressive in restricting freedom of expression. The past year has seen a rapid deterioration that should alarm everyone who wants to see Hong Kong’s cherished freedom’s protected,” said Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong. “The Hong Kong government is increasingly depriving individuals and groups of their human rights based on their political views, a clear violation of freedom of expression,” Tam would continue.
The report would also seem to foreshadow the events of recent weeks.
The human rights review highlights how the Hong Kong government is increasingly using “national security” as an excuse to deprive people of their human rights. Individuals who advocate for Hong Kong’s independence or self-determination, by non-violent means, are cast as a threat to “national security”, and their peaceful activism is branded ‘illegal’, in breach of Hong Kong’s human rights law and the government’s obligations to uphold international human rights standards.