Hong Kong political strife continues with protests, strikes

12 June, 2019 12:00 AM printer

HONG KONG: Opponents of legislation in Hong Kong that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China are planning more protests and labor strikes in an attempt to block the move, which they say endangers the territory’s judicial independence and Western-style freedoms, reports AP.

The government plans to present the amendments to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Wednesday, despite a weekend protest that brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets in the territory’s largest political demonstration in more than a decade.

The legislation has become a lightning rod for concerns about Beijing’s increasing control over the former British colony, which had been promised it would retain its own legal and social institutions for 50 years after its return to Chinese rule in 1997.

Jimmy Sham, convener of the Civil Human Rights Front that organized Sunday’s protest, said his group is prepared to keep fighting to defeat the legislation.

“We will use our people to surround the Legislative Council, starting from tomorrow,” Sham said Tuesday.

Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has consistently defended the legislation as necessary to close legal loopholes with other countries and territories. The legislature’s president, Andrew Leung, has scheduled a vote on June 20. Police closed off streets surrounding the legislature and government headquarters amid online calls for protesters to gather and show their opposition. Local media reports said thousands of additional officers were being mobilized to keep order.

Some businesses announced plans to close Wednesday and there were scattered reports of students planning to boycott classes. Rain was forecast overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, possibly reducing the size of crowds.