China, Hong Kong double down on extradition bill | News | DW | 10.06.2019
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China, Hong Kong double down on extradition bill

Beijing warned against "outside interference" in Hong Kong politics as it promised to support the city's government. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to demand parliament nix the controversial law.

Watch video 02:39

Hong Kong extradition bill galvanizes civil society

China announced on Monday that it would fully support the government of Hong Kong on a draft law that would allow extradition to the mainland. The Foreign Ministry's statement came one day after one ofthe city's biggest protests since it was handed over to China from the UK in 1997.

Spokesman Geng Shuang said the government "will continue to firmly support" Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam, and warned that it would " firmly oppose any outside interference in the legislative affairs" of the city.

Lam, who became leader in 2017 in a reformed election process that privileges Beijing-friendly candidates, vowed to push the new bill forward.

"I don't think it is (an) appropriate decision for us now to pull out of this bill because of the very important objectives that this bill is intended to achieve," she said on Monday.

"While we will continue to do the communication and explanation there is very little merit to be gained to delay the bill. It will just cause more anxiety and divisiveness in society."

Watch video 00:19

Carrie Lam: 'This is a very important piece of legislation'

According to organizers, more than a million people took part in a massive rally against the bill on Sunday. The march was mostly peaceful, although there were sporadic clashes with police outside the city's Legislative Council building.

The law, which is due to have its second reading in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, was introduced by Lam in February. It would create a new extradition agreement with China, which had been avoided in the past due to Beijing's poor legal and human rights records.

Sunday marked Hong Kong's largest display of civil disobedience since the 2014 "Occupy" movement that sought to end constitutional reforms allowing only Beijing-approved candidates to run in elections.

On Monday, US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told a news briefing that "the continued erosion of the 'one country, two systems' framework puts at risk Hong Kong's long-established special status in international affairs." Ortagus said Sunday's peaceful demonstration "clearly shows the public's opposition to the proposed amendments." She added: "The United States shares the concern of many in Hong Kong that the lack of procedural protection in the proposed amendments could undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and negatively impact the territory’s long-standing protections of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values."

es, mkg/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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