Extradition Law

Carrie Lam - Hong Kong News HEadline

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday a highly controversial extradition bill will proceed to the legislature for debate after the territory’s largest protests in at least a decade filled the streets to oppose the legislation. In the protest that reflected the semi-autonomous territory’s growing apprehension about relations with the Communist Party-ruled mainland, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets Sunday to protest the bill that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. The full legislature is scheduled to resume debate on the amendments on Wednesday, and a vote is expected this month. The government has considered concerns from the private sector and altered the bill to improve human rights safeguards, Lam said. Speaking to reporters before a regular meeting of her cabinet, Lam emphasized that extradition cases would be decided by Hong Kong courts — not the chief executive. “Even the chief executive could not overrule the court, to say that because (a country) wants this offender, I will surrender,” Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said, adding that such a scenario would be impossible, because Hong Kong’s chief executive is not above the law. Lawyer and member of Lam’s administration advisory committee Ronny Tong Ka-wah said Sunday’s protest showed a lack of trust in Hong Kong’s administration, partly because Lam was picked by Beijing and not elected by popular vote. However, China’s patience with Hong Kong’s demands has its limits, Tong added. “We need to gain the trust and confidence of Beijing so theyContinue reading

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China Extradition Law Protesters

Several hundred thousand people jammed Hong Kong’s streets on Sunday in the biggest rally for years to thwart a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China to face trial. Organisers said their initial estimates put the turnout at well over half a million people, saying it outstripped a demonstration in 2003 when 500,000 hit the streets to challenge government plans for tighter national security laws. Those laws were later shelved and a key government official forced to resign. Sunday’s outpouring was widely expected to raise the pressure on the administration of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her official backers in Beijing. Lam had yet to comment on the rally, which followed weeks of domestic discontent growing official concern from the U.S., European Union and foreign business lobbies that the changes would dent Hong Kong’s vaunted rule of law and freedoms. The former British colony was handed back to Chinese rule in 1997 amid guarantees of autonomy and various freedoms including a separate legal system, which many diplomats and business leaders believe is the city’s strongest remaining asset. The unusually broad opposition to the rendition bill displayed on Sunday came amid a series of government moves to deepen links between southern mainland China and Hong Kong. Police had yet to issue their own estimate of the protest size. But as tens of thousands reached the Legislative Council in the Admiralty business district, the starting point in Victoria Park was crowded with thousands moreContinue reading

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Hong Kong New Extradition Law

Some Hong Kong independence activists say they may be forced to leave the city if a proposed extradition law allowing suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial is enacted. The government wants Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to quickly pass the Fugitives Offenders Ordinance amendment bill, which would allow case-by-case transfers of people to countries without extradition treaties, including China. The bill says extradition can’t be used for political and religious offences, and that safeguards such as court oversight over extradition requests will ensure rights are upheld. But Hong Kong’s small band of independence activists – who have railed against China’s tightening grip on their city’s autonomy and freedoms and say Hong Kong should be its own country – sense peril. “In the future, no matter which fugitives China seeks to extradite, Hong Kong won’t be able to say no,” said Alan Li, 27, a former leader of independence group Hong Kong Indigenous. Li is in Germany after being granted political asylum there in a landmark case that has underscored growing international concern about Hong Kong’s activists. “We can’t trust the Hong Kong government,” he added. Li and activist Ray Wong, 25, ended up in refugee camps in Germany after skipping bail on rioting charges linked to a violent standoff with police on Feb. 8, 2016. “We will see more and more people being granted political asylum in the future,” Li said via phone from Germany, noting that it was a rigorous process. At least 23 activists from theContinue reading

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