Causes of 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests
There are many causes of 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests. The immediate cause of the protest, was the legislation of the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill. However, many sources had stated other causes of the protests. For example, demands on democracy, Causeway Bay Books disappearances or the fear of losing "high degree of autonomy" in general. Subsequence actions by the police forces in 12 June protest as well as the legislative process of the bill, had sparked ever more protests what occur in many satellite towns of the city.
Only half of the lawmakers of the Legislative Council (LegCo) were directly elected as geographical constituencies, the rest were functional constituencies, including one seat for District Council (Second). There was an ongoing demand of universal suffrage since the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997. However, instead of towards the universal suffrage as stated in the Basic Law Article 45:
…The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.
The 2014–15 Hong Kong electoral reform had frozen the number of members of the Election Committee to 1,200. The proposed reform did not attracted the support from pan-democratic lawmaker , which were the opposition parties in the Council. Nevertheless the proposal was vetoed.
During the 6th Legislative Council, a few opposition lawmakers were disqualified after they were elected into the council, namely Yau Wai-ching, Sixtus Leung, Lau Siu-lai, Yiu Chung-yim, Nathan Law and Leung Kwok-hung. The figures did not include person that disqualified to became a candidate.
The Economist had stated Hong Kong people are disillusioned on "the [Chinese Communist Party] eventually fulfil its pledge to give them more democracy", as after the 2014 Umbrella Movement and the 2014–15 electoral reform, "[the] promise would only mean only the chance to vote for someone the party considered royal". While Financial Times, on 12 June 2019 (date of an anti-bill protest), had stated, "Most people in Hong Kong, however, find it hard to believe that Ms Lam brought this crisis [editor note: extradition bill] upon herself with no help whatsoever from Beijing".
Causeway Bay Books and Xiao Jianhua disappearancesEdit
Even before the proposed 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill, authorities from Mainland China, despite did not have jurisdiction in the Special administrative region, had kidnapped the owner and several staffs of the Hong Kong-based Causeway Bay Books to the Mainland as a suspect of breaking Mainland law. Xiao Jianhua, a billionaire from Mainland who resided in Hong Kong, had also disappeared from Hong Kong. The two incidents are considered as one of the causes of the protests. The critics stated that the Central Government "are chipping away at the independence of [Hong Kong]'s courts and news media". They also worried "the authorities will use [the bill] to send dissidents, activists and others in Hong Kong, including foreign visitors, to face trial in mainland courts, which are controlled by the party."
Legislative process of 2019 Hong Kong extradition billEdit
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The Government attitude on legislating the Hong Kong extradition bill had also directly attributed to the spark of the protests.
Some of the businessmen which traditionally advocated to the Hong Kong government, had against the legislation of the bill. For example, Michael Tien who also served as one of the lawmaker in the Legislative Council, had openly urged the Chief Executive Carrie Lam to withdrew the bill in May 2019. He also made an alternative plan to deal with the legal jurisdiction of the Murder Case of Poon Hiu-wing,[nb 1] which he claimed his plan attracts support from the business sector. However, the government had no sign to postpone the bill, even a record breaking number of lawyers had participated a silent march against the bill on 6 June.
Despite thousands to millions of citizens participated on an anti-extradition bill protest on 9 June, the Legislative Council still resumed the process of the second reading. It was due to the pro-government (and pro-Beijing) lawmakers has a majority in the Legislative Council.[nb 2] The resume sparked the 12 June protest that became a civil conflict. On 15 June, Carrie Lam declared the legislative process had been suspended indefinitely. However, from 15 June to date, Lam refused to declare the withdrawal of the proposed bill, although "withdrew the bill" is one of the 5 key demands of the protesters.
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Participants of subsequent protests (after 9 June), as well as many pan-democrats lawmakers, academicians and critics, had attributed the police was one of the causes of the never-ending of the anti-extradition bill protests. Although they did not have the same conclusion on the degree of the responsibility of the police. Moreover, Pierre Chan, the only neutral lawmaker in the LegCo, despite declared that he was neutral between the police and protesters in July, also participated an assembly of physicians and nurses, condemning the police violence in August 2019.
Despite the Hong Kong Police Force declared some of the events of 12 June protest as illegal due to the occupation of roads and areas, the protesters also accused the police had used excessive force. For example, peaceful protesters around CITIC Tower, which had obtained the Letter of No Objection from the police for that location, had accused the police had wrongfully used tear gas pellets on them. Councillors of the Independent Police Complaints Council, also declared that if the use of tear gas is true, it is unsatisfactory (Chinese: 不理想). The actions of the police, were one of the reasons that many demonstrators participated the 16 June protest. The organizer had claimed 2 millions citizens participated the protest, despite other sources claimed otherwise. However, most sources concluded that it was an all-time record.
Meanwhile, the negligence of the police and the accused collusion with the criminals during Yuen Long attack on 21 July, had spread the protest into Yuen Long, a satellite town in the New Territories. Under Public Order Ordinance, protests are required to obtain the Letter of No Objection. However, the police had issued a Letter of Objection days before, declaring it would be illegal to participate. Nevertheless, many citizens had voiced their opinions on the attack and the criticism on the police by visiting Yuen Long with excuses such as shopping. Some of the protesters did made more violent actions during 27 July protest, however, when the protesters were leaving and retreating upon the request of the police, the police also use force to try to arrest protesters. Once again, pan-democrats lawmakers had signed a petition to condemn the violence of the police and accusing the force used by the police during the clearance of the location were nearly revenge (Chinese: 近乎報復). They also declared that the issues of the Letter of Objection would create vicious circles that only attract more citizens to become demonstrators.
Nevertheless, due to many reasons, the protests did not cease. More and more tear gas were used by the police, as well as the use of bean bag rounds and Rubber bullets. Not only on the Hong Kong Island, the use of force by the police had spread along with the protests, which police had used tear gas in most of the satellite towns of the city. On 5 August protest along, the police had used around 800 rounds of tear gas. Many organizations had criticize the actions of the police from that single day.
The Hong Kong branch of Amnesty International had made many condemns to the police during the events. For example, on 12 August, after more than 2 months of the protests (since 9 June, or more than 2 months if counting April protests) and right after the 11 August protests, the branch had declared "Hong Kong police have once again used tear gas and rubber bullets in a way that have fallen short of international standards. Firing at retreating protesters in confined areas where they had little time to leave goes against the purported objective of dispersing a crowd".
The Chinese Central Government had accused that the protests was under foreign influence. Ip Kwok-him, a pro-establishment lawmaker of the LegCo, had also made similar accusation. A senior officer from the HKPF had told CNN that "they have seen no evidence that foreign governments financed or inspired the protest movement." in August, during a background briefing to a group of journalists.
After the June demonstrations, protesters had stated their 5 key demands. One version contained "Implementation of genuine universal suffrage", despite some reported version substituted "universal suffrage" to "Carrie Lam resign" or the reported version just had 4 key demands.
The other 4 key demands were "withdraw the extradition bill"; "officially retract descriptions of the protests as a riot"; "drop charges against protesters"; as well as "launch an independent commission of inquiry on the matter that related to the anti-extradition bill protests".
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The panel discusses young protesters continue to rally in Hong Kong in attempts to protect their freedoms,…
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- The murder of Poon in Taiwan, was the excuse of the government to revise the existing extradition bill in order to extradite the suspect from Hong Kong to Taiwan.
- Despite the pro-government has a majority, it was after the disqualifications of lawmakers and re-election of some of the seats. Moreover, they has a majority in functional constituencies, but almost the same number of seats from geographical constituencies. 5 out of 6 disqualified lawmakers (see above section) were from geographical constituencies. Lastly, Michael Tien was a rouge member of the pro-government camp in the legislation of the extradition bill.
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