In the last few days, you might have seen images like this in your Facebook newsfeed:
You more or less know that it’s a protest in Hong Kong regarding some “extradition bill”, and you silently admit to yourself that you’ve no idea what a bill is.
But in front of your friends, you said, “Oh, yes. That protest. Poor thing. That guy standing in front of a tank? Power.”
“Wait, man in front of tank? That’s a different protest that happened in China in 1989!”
“Oh,” you said, and regretted that you’ve not read more about this.
But fret not; here’s everything you need to know about the Hong Kong Extradition Bill Protest simplified for you.
What’s the Extradition Bill?
The full name of the bill is called Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019.
Lest you’re not aware, bills aren’t laws (yet), but kind of like a proposal that has to be debated by lawmakers before they’re voted into laws.
So basically, this bill, which we should call the Extradition Bill, would allow Hong Kong to hand over anyone there who’s convicted of a crime to other places outside of Hong Kong, which includes China and Macau. They were, of course, previously not included.
The bill was introduced in February 2019 after a 19-year-old Hong Kong man murdered his girlfriend while holidaying in Taiwan. After he went back to Hong Kong, Taiwan requested for the man but Hong Kong couldn’t do so because of the lack of an extradition agreement.
Now, of course, if there’s one, justice would be served, won’t it?
Why are people protesting then?
People Are Afraid That Hong Kong Would Extradite Innocent Parties to China
Well, the sub-heading says it all.
They’re afraid that the new law would be abused, and that the people in Hong Kong would be subjected to the reach of the China laws instead of their own laws.
Lest you’re not aware, Hong Kong comes under the “One Country, Two Systems” ruling, whereby Hong Kong (and Macau) would have their own government system and handle their own affairs while still belonging to China.
The people of Hong Kong have three goals for the protest:
- Withdrawal of the bill
- Prevent extradition to mainland China
- Resignation of Chief executive Carrie Lam
And they were very serious about it.
Protests, Protests and More Protests
Since the bill was introduced in February, why the protests now?
Apparently, smaller protests had been ongoing earlier.
In March 2019, the first protest occurred, with a march from Luard Road to Civic Square. According to the organisers, 12,000 people attended the march but the police said there were only about 5,200.
Later, in April, a bigger protest happened. Comprising about 130,000 people, they took a 2.2 km march from Causeway Bay to Admiralty (not our Admiralty lah).
The third march is by lawyers. 3,000 well-dressed lawyers walked from the Court of Final Appeal to the Central Government Offices on 6 June 2019.
And finally, the protest that’s been on our newsfeed.
From 9 June 2019, an estimated 1.03 million people walked from Victoria Park, Causeway Bay to the Legislative Council in Admiralty. Just so you know, the population of Hong Kong is 7.39 million.
With that number, it led to overcrowding in many areas and the police had to open lanes that were meant for cars. Simply put, it’s messy.
Clashes also occurred, and 358 people were arrested.
Today, some businesses even allegedly closed for the day, which is understandable: we’re talking about one out of seven people protesting leh.
In other cities, people (mostly people from Hong Kong) also protested albeit with less attendance. For example, 4,000 people protested in London and 3,000 in Sydney.
And don’t worry, there’s nothing here in Singapore: even if you see a crowd, it’s most likely that there’s a new bubble tea store instead.
Second Reading of Bill Postponed
Remember that when a bill is introduced, it’ll be shown to lawmakers to debate on before vowing on whether to pass it as a law?
Today, it’s supposed to be the second reading of the bill, whereby it’s being looked at by lawmakers again and debated on.
However, the second reading has been delayed to a later date that’s not revealed.
Despite that, the protestors refused to leave.
In other words, yes, you’re most likely going to read and see more of this news.
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