Thousands of Hong Kong students turn out to protest extradition bill

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019   •   394

Hong Kong, China (AUGUST 27, 2019). Various secondary school students seated at protest at Edinburgh Place| Courtesy: Reuters

Thousands of secondary school students gathered at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong on Thursday (August 22) to call for political reforms amid turmoil and chaos in the city.

Many of the students said they joined the rally as the government has not answered any of the protesters’ five demands, while others, who are in their senior years, praised the high-school students for ‘sacrificing’ their summer holiday to come out on Thursday.

Hong Kong has been gripped by anti-government protests in recent weeks, with China accusing Britain and other Western countries of meddling in its affairs.

The unrest has been fuelled by broader worries about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula adopted after 1997 but not enjoyed on the Chinese mainland, including an independent judiciary and the right to protest. (Reuters)

(Production: Stefica Nicol Bikes, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

Hong Kong leader says ‘one country, two systems’ can continue after 2047

UNTV News   •   January 16, 2020

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at press conference epa08109218 Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a press conference in Hong Kong, China, 07 January 2020. According to media reports, Lam said she hoped to work closely with Luo Huining, China’s newly appointed top local official. EPA-EFE/JEROME FAVRE

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Thursday said the “one country, two systems” arrangement could continue after the autonomous city’s complete transfer to Chinese sovereignty in 2047 if loyalty to Beijing is maintained.

“As long as we uphold, fully understand and implement the ‘one country, two systems’ principle, there are adequate reasons to believe that the arrangement would move ahead smoothly and there would be no change after 2047,” Lam told the Legislative Council.

She said her topmost priority was to put an end to the violence and destruction that have affected the local economy and Hong Kong’s reputation as a safe and law-abiding business hub with an independent judiciary.

Lam expressed concern about the possible closure of companies and dismissal of employees after the Lunar New Year holiday (which starts Jan. 25) but expressed hope for economic recovery if social order was restored in the crisis-ridden city.

She said she intended to announce next month the establishment of a committee to investigate the reasons behind the riots in Hong Kong.

The “Independent Review Committee” would be composed of social leaders, experts, and academics, who will carry out a study to analyze the root causes of problems in Hong Kong.

Lam described the creation of such a committee as an “important step” towards reconciliation after seven months of protests, although she added that the administration was having difficulty finding people to join the proposed panel.

Tensions returned to parliament on Thursday after 13 pro-democracy legislators were ordered to leave the meeting for repeatedly interrupting the session, holding banners and chanting slogans such as “five demands, not one less” and “Carrie Lam step down”.

The “five demands” include direct universal suffrage, freeing of almost 6,000 detainees, the protests not to be considered unrest and an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.

The city administration has already withdrawn a controversial extradition bill that was part of the demand of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Critics of the plan to establish a review committee say that the protesters have already made it very clear what drives their continued campaign against the government and that only an independent investigation of police brutality would be considered satisfactory. EFE-EPA

msc/tk-ia/ssk

Hong Kong police arrest 400 protesters following New Year march

UNTV News   •   January 2, 2020

Riot police detain protesters during an anti-government rally on New Year’s day in Hong Kong, China, 01 January 2020. EFE-EPA/VIVEK PRAKASH

HONG KONG – Hong Kong police arrested about 400 people on charges of illegal assembly and possession of arms during a New Year anti-government march organizers said was attended by more than a million people.

Hong Kongers came out en masse Wednesday for march organizers had to eventually cancel following police orders, leading to clashes between officers and the more radical protesters.

Although permission for the demonstration had been granted, police urged organizers – the Civil Human Rights Front – to end the procession three hours after it started, arguing some protesters had begun throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and burning shops and banks.

Trouble started when activists vandalized a branch of banking giant HSBC, which led to police cracking down on them with teargas, local media outlets reported.

Other protesters in the front columns of the march formed human chains, seemingly unwilling to go away, leading to further clashes with police that ended in arrests.

Away from the clashes, thousands marched peacefully to urge citizens of the former British colony to keep protests alive in 2020 and remind the government of the pro-democracy movement’s demands through placards and slogans.

Demands include that direct universal suffrage to elect a chief executive and other representatives be granted, that almost 6,000 detainees be freed, that protests not to be considered unrest and that an independent investigation be launched into alleged police brutality.

Demonstrations in Hong Kong began in June following a controversial extradition bill already withdrawn by the government, but have mutated into a movement seeking to improve Hong Kong’s democratic mechanisms and safeguard the region’s partial autonomy from Beijing.

Some demonstrators have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful civil disobedience and violent clashes with police have been frequent.

Months of protests have plunged Hong Kong’s economy into recession for the first time in a decade, having contracted by 2.9 percent in the third quarter, due to falling imports and exports, retail sales and declining tourism. EFE-EPA

Lam promises to listen, find solutions for Hong Kong in 2020

UNTV News   •   December 31, 2019

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday in a New Year’s Eve message that she had the responsibility to solve the city’s problems, which has been rocked by anti-government protests for more than six months.

In a three-minute video titled “Treasure Hong Kong … our home” Lam took stock of 2019, a year which, according to her, has “caused sadness, anxiety, disappointment and even rage.”

“I will listen humbly to find a way out […] so we can begin together,” the leader said in the video-speech posted on her Facebook page.

Lam expressed hope for reconciliation in 2020 and said Hong Kong people have “resolved many difficulties before.”

However, some residents Tuesday were back on the streets mobilizing meetings throughout the day and urging people to not forget what had happened in 2019 and continue protesting in 2020.

Hong Kong Police has deployed 6,000 officers to contain protesters during New Year celebrations, local media outlets reported.

Thousands are expected to gather Wednesday, New Year’s Day, for a march called by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has mobilized more than 1 million pro-democracy protesters on earlier occasions.

Police have not authorized the march and warned in a video posted on its website that protesters would “not get public support” if they used violence and officers would be forced to arrest them.

Demonstrations in Hong Kong began in June following a controversial extradition bill, already withdrawn by the government, but have mutated into a movement seeking to improve Hong Kong’s democratic mechanisms and safeguard the region’s partial autonomy from Beijing.

Some demonstrators have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful civil disobedience and violent clashes with the police have been frequent.

Months of protests have plunged Hong Kong’s economy into recession for the first time in a decade, having contracted by 2.9 percent in the third quarter, due to falling imports and exports, retail sales and declining tourism. EFE-EPA

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