Open main menu

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.[1] 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.



Democratic statusEdit

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.[2]

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".[3] 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".[4]

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.[5][6][7] 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."[8]

Legislative process of 2019 Hong Kong extradition billEdit

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] On 15 June, Carrie Lam declared the legislative process had been suspended indefinitely.[13][14] 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.

Accusation of police violence on 12 June protest and subsequent events that related to the policeEdit

Participants of subsequent protests (after 9 June),[15] as well as many pan-democrats lawmakers,[16] academicians[17][18] and critics,[19][20][21] 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.[18][21] Moreover, Pierre Chan, the only neutral lawmaker in the LegCo, despite declared that he was neutral between the police and protesters in July,[22] also participated an assembly of physicians and nurses, condemning the police violence in August 2019.[23]

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,[24] had accused the police had wrongfully used tear gas pellets on them.[25] 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).[24] 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.[26][27]

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.[28] 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).[29] They also declared that the issues of the Letter of Objection would create vicious circles that only attract more citizens to become demonstrators.[29]

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.[30][31]

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".[32]

Alleged causesEdit

The Chinese Central Government had accused that the protests was under foreign influence.[33] Ip Kwok-him, a pro-establishment lawmaker of the LegCo, had also made similar accusation.[34] 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.[35]


After the June demonstrations, protesters had stated their 5 key demands. One version contained "Implementation of genuine universal suffrage",[36][37] despite some reported version substituted "universal suffrage" to "Carrie Lam resign"[38] or the reported version just had 4 key demands.[39]

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".

Further readingsEdit

  • Chan, Anson (14 June 2019). "The Drum Friday June 14". The Drum (TV production and interview). Interviewed by Ellen Fanning. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The panel discusses young protesters continue to rally in Hong Kong in attempts to protect their freedoms,…
  • Saich, Tony (9 July 2019). "Simmer nears boil in Hong Kong | Harvard China expert examines what's behind the protests". The Harvard Gazette (Interview). Interviewed by Colleen Walsh. Harvard University.


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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.


  1. ^ "Hong Kong riot police clash with airport protesters". The Guardian. 14 August 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019. What are the Hong Kong protests about?
  2. ^ Kwok, Donny; Lee, Yimou (18 June 2015). "Hong Kong vetoes China-backed electoral reform proposal". Reuters. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Unrest in Hong Kong | China's chance". The Economist. Vol. 431 no. 9148. 22 June 2019. p. 9.
  4. ^ Mitchell, Tom (12 June 2019). Written at Beijing. "Hong Kong risks becoming pawn in trade war with extradition bill". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  5. ^ Victor, Daniel; Yuhas, Alan (8 August 2019). "What's Going On in Hong Kong? What To Know About the Protests". New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  6. ^ Li, Jeff (16 June 2019). "China's history of extraordinary rendition". BBC News Chinese. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Surveillance-savvy Hong Kong protesters go digitally dark". Hong Kong: France 24. AFP. 13 June 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  8. ^ Ramzy, Austin (9 June 2019). "Hong Kong March: Vast Protest of Extradition Bill Shows Fear of Eroding Freedoms". New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Unrest in Hong Kong | Carrie on, for now". The Economist. Vol. 431 no. 9148. 22 June 2019. pp. 23–24.
  10. ^ 【逃犯條例】田北辰推「港人港審」建議不設追溯期 稱商界反應正面. Topick (in Chinese). Hong Kong Economic Times Holdings. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  11. ^ "'Record 3,000' Hong Kong lawyers in silent march against controversial extradition bill". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 6 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  12. ^ 反修例變佔鐘 警開槍射膠彈 林鄭月娥重申不撤回. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 13 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam suspends extradition bill, but won't apologise for rift it caused or withdraw it altogether". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 15 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  14. ^ "Hong Kong to suspend controversial extradition bill after widespread protests". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  15. ^ 香港抗议:示威者集会“遍地开花”,多地区再现警民冲突. BBC News Chinese (in Chinese). protesters as interviewees. 5 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.CS1 maint: others (link)
  16. ^ 旺角驅散示威者 警方泛民議員互指責. Bastille Post (in Chinese). Hong Kong. 9 July 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019. …二十四名民主派議員則發表聯署聲明,強烈譴責警方前晚於旺角一帶嚴重失控、缺乏操守、濫用武力及故意挑釁示威者的行動,指事件已引發新一輪公憤,警方及政府必須立即追究濫武及違例警員的惡行,並向公眾道歉。
  17. ^ 吳倬安 (13 August 2019). 【8.18遊行】學者料警方拒批不反對通知書 指遊行人數已非關鍵. Hong Kong 01 (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  18. ^ a b 蔡子強 (4 August 2019) [First published on Ming Pao on 31 July]. 公僕倒戈ㅤ衝突加劇ㅤ林鄭鴕鳥ㅤ北京該考慮換特首. Stand News (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  19. ^ 李怡 (24 July 2019). 暴力. 世道人生 column. Apple Daily (in Chinese). Next Digital. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  20. ^ 劉細良 (29 July 2019). 共產黨要同香港攬炒. Apple Daily (Opinion) (in Chinese). Next Digital. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  21. ^ a b 劉銳紹 (29 June 2019). "決策無度 進退失據──《逃犯條例》引致的管治危機". Ming Pao Monthly (in Chinese). Vol. 2019 no. July. Media Chinese International. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  22. ^ 【逆權運動】陳沛然:林鄭再不解決困局 憂衝突升級有人犠牲. online "real time" edition. Apple Daily (in Chinese). Hong Kong. 20 July 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  23. ^ 陳沛然:白色恐怖感真確. online "instant news" section. Hong Kong Economic Journal (in Chinese). 14 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019. 律敦治及鄧肇堅醫院一批醫務人員,中午靜坐抗議警方濫權,有份參與的律敦治醫院內科副顧問醫生陳沛然表示…
  24. ^ a b 示威者稱遭催淚彈圍困中信大廈 監警會:如屬實不理想 (in Chinese). Radio Television Hong Kong. 18 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  25. ^ 中信示威者夢見催淚彈驚醒. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  26. ^ 示威者叫下台 林鄭發稿道歉 黑衣白花 百萬人喊撤回 民陣稱近200萬人 警稱約33.8萬. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  27. ^ 香港逃犯条例游行:民阵称近200万人参与,再次破纪录. BBC News Chinese (in Chinese). 17 June 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  28. ^ 市民擲磚圍警車 警用催淚彈海綿彈 與示威者衝突7小時 警入元朗站棍扑人. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 28 July 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019. 抗議7.21白衣人施襲,並表達對警方的不滿
  29. ^ a b 民主派:警方反對遊行憂成惡性循環 (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Now TV news channel (PCCW Group). 28 July 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  30. ^ 【八五罷工】警昨放800催淚彈160海綿橡膠彈拘148人 記者讀聲明譴責警察濫暴 (17:11). online "instant news" section. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  31. ^ 修例風波:催淚彈射入社區中心 社福界轟警虐老. Hong Kong: Oriental Press Group. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  32. ^ "Hong Kong: Police should exercise restraint to avoid escalating violence" (Press release). Amnesty International Hong Kong. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  33. ^ 2019年8月2日外交部发言人华春莹主持例行记者会 (Press release) (in Chinese). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. 2 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  34. ^ 葉國謙不信示威無「大台」拉幕後策劃者才能止暴. Bastille Post (in Chinese). Hong Kong. 8 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  35. ^ Watson, Ivan (16 August 2019). "Hong Kong's police describe their side of the protests". CNN. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  36. ^ "What do the Hong Kong protesters want?". The Guardian. 13 August 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  37. ^ O'Grady, Siobhán; Parker, Claire (13 August 2019). "What's happening in Hong Kong? Some key questions, answered". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  38. ^ 黑海遊行8小時 千人留守政總外 民陣列五大訴求 下一步視乎林鄭回應. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  39. ^ "Tamar siege on Friday if demands ignored: students". RTHK. 19 June 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.