More protests planned as Hong Kong leader firm on extradition bill

Hong Kong will see more protests this week against the controversial extradition bill after Sunday’s million-strong rally failed to shake the government’s resolve, reports say.

The Civil Human Rights Front, which organised the weekend rally, urged Hong Kongers to skip work and join protest against the bill which will allow extradition of Beijing’s critics to China.

The protest call came after Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, above, on Monday reaffirmed that the process to pass the bill will go ahead.

The Civil Human Rights Front said it will be organising another massive protest in front of the Legislative Council building on Wednesday when the bill will come up for a second reading.

Most shops and businesses will remain closed on Wednesday to express their solidarity with the protesters, a spokesman of the rights front said.
At a presser on Monday, Democratic lawmakers asked Lam to step down for causing instability in Hong Kong as no leader had done before.

They said the clashes with police on Sunday were triggered by the government’s late night announcement to stick to their extradition plan.  

Speaking at a presser on Monday, Lam said the bill will prevent Hong Kong from turning into a haven for fugitives by extraditing them to China.

Without naming the US, Lam alleged foreign hand in Sunday’s protests. These forces are trying to destabilise Hong Kong by using pro-democracy protesters as pawns, she said.

China Daily echoed Lam’s views by writing in its editorial that foreign forces are seizing the opportunity to advance their own strategy to hurt China.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday that Beijing will continue to support Lam over the extradition bill adding that external forces would not be allowed to destabilise Hong Kong.

A former British colony, Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997. Since then, Beijing has been following the policy of “one country, two systems” allowing the territory to have its own laws for 50 years.

But 22 years after the handover, the “one country, two systems” formula does not seem to be working as China is interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and asserting its authority to restrict people’s freedom.

Lam, who was inaugurated as chief executive in 2017, appears to be the most unpopular among the officials picked by Beijing for the top post.

The loss of faith in China, the fear of losing their individual freedom and being extradited to a place where conviction rate is high brought 1 million protesters to the street of Hong Kong on Sunday.