According to protestors, more than one million people hit the streets in Hong Kong to protest a new law that would allow residents to be extradited to China for certain offenses. “Critics say the move would make anyone in Hong Kong vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offenses and undermine the city’s semi-autonomous legal system.”
The police claim the number of protestors was closer to 250K, but that is still a large crowd of people worried about China’s interference in Hong Kong.
Sunday’s protest, however, wasn’t just remarkable for its size — but also its demographics.
While the Umbrella Movement galvanized Hong Kong’s youth and was mainly student-led, it wasn’t popular with everyone, and some in the city felt it was disruptive to business.
Opposition to the extradition bill, however, came from a wider cross-section of society.
Lawyers, business people, middle-class, middle-aged first-time protesters were all on the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday.
Despite the protest, Hong Kong will move forward with the bill.
Hong Kong’s leader signaled Monday that her government will push ahead with controversial amendments to extradition laws despite a massive protest against them that underscored fears about mainland China’s broadening footprint in the semi-autonomous territory.
In what was likely Hong Kong’s largest protest in more than a decade, hundreds of thousands of people shut down the heart of the skyscraper-studded city on Sunday, three days before the Legislative Council is slated to take up the bill.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the law is important for Hong Kong to “uphold justice and fulfill its international obligations. Safeguards added in May will ensure that the legislation protects human rights, she said.”
“I have not received any instruction or mandate from Beijing to do this bill,” she said. “We were doing it — and we are still doing it — out of our clear conscience, and our commitment to Hong Kong.” Lam said the bill will prevent Hong Kong to become a place for fugitives. Presumably fugitives from China.
(Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)