China's Reaction to the Protests in Hong Kong
The following is an editorial from the Global Times in response to the protests in Hong Kong, GT a mouthpiece for the Communist Party and the Government. I will reserve my own opinions for my “Week in Review” column.
Demonstrations organized by opposition factions took place in Hong Kong on Sunday. Organizers claimed that some 300,000 people participated in the protests, but the police put the actual figure at about 153,000. On the same day, Safeguard HK, Support the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Legislation announced that more than 730,000 Hong Kong citizens have shown their support to the government's plan to amend the extradition laws.
The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region submitted the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 to the Legislative Council in April. The original bill was passed before Hong Kong was returned to China from Britain. The law allowed the extradition of people accused or convicted of committing a crime between Hong Kong and 20 other jurisdictions, which did not include the Chinese mainland, Macao and Taiwan.
The Hong Kong government intends to include the mainland, Macao and Taiwan into the bill. The proposed bill says that to be eligible for extradition, a suspect must have been accused of committing at least one of 37 internationally recognized offences.
The amendment aims to avoid Hong Kong becoming "a haven for fugitives." However, the legislation was politically hyped up by the opposition and their international supporters. They claim that the amendments will hurt human rights in Hong Kong and are lobbying for international assistance.
According to foreign reports, similar demonstrations on a smaller scale have taken place in some cities in countries such as Australia. In Western societies, if some forces want to hold such political demonstrations and there are organizations ready to foot the bill, it is easy to stage such shows.
It is worth noting that some international forces have increasingly collaborated with the opposition in Hong Kong. Two opposition groups visited the US in March and May to notify the US about the government's decision to amend the extradition law. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met both groups. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met some in May and claimed the amendment threatened the rule of law in Hong Kong.
The governments of UK and Canada released a joint statement at the end of May about the proposed changes in Hong Kong's proposed extradition law. Chris Patten, Hong Kong's last British governor, said on June 6 that the proposed extradition bill will undermine Hong Kong's reputation as a global financial hub. While Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam insists the bill is necessary to plug legal loopholes, Patten trashed the argument, calling it "absolute nonsense."
For some time, a decreasing number of people in Hong Kong have shown their will to participate in street politics. More people have been supportive of the government's measures to implement the policy of "one country, two systems." Nonetheless, Western countries more actively point an accusing finger at Hong Kong affairs, instigating the opposition to create more chaos.
Washington has been particularly active in meddling in Hong Kong affairs. Radical politicians such as Marco Rubio have said that the US should rethink providing Hong Kong trade and economic privileges. Obviously, the US is trying to use Hong Kong affairs to pressure China. Some radical opposition members in Hong Kong are hand- in-glove with the US.
But from a historical point of view, the waves they created are just bubbles in the air. The future of Hong Kong will not be held hostage by the opposition and their supporters. The amendments to the extradition law are still under legislation, which is just and Hong Kong SAR government and society should not abandon their efforts.
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