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Hong Kong protests: Chief Executive Carrie Lam apologizes for suspended China extradition bill

Hong Kong – Hong Kong citizens marched on Sunday in a massive protest, which left a delay from the city's top leader in her handling of legislation that has raised fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony . Last week, large crowds took to the streets to protest against state-backed legislation to allow people to be extradited to mainland China. On Saturday, the Hong Kong government suspended the bill


The demonstration probably seemed to correspond to the protest size a week ago, leading as many as 1

million people to express their concern about Hong Kong's relations with mainland China in one of the toughest tests of the area's particular status since China took control in a 1997 transfer.

Well after the dark, the crowds outside the police gathered headquarters and CEO Carrie Lam's office. On Saturday, Lam suspended his efforts to force the passage of the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent to trial in mainland China.

  APTOPIX Hong Kong Extradition Law
Thousands of protesters march through the streets while continuing to protest against a rendition bill on June 16, 2019 in Hong Kong.

Vincent Yu / AP

The move did not say that Hong Kong residents were angry with the plan, which sees it as one of many steps away from Hong Kong's freedoms and legal autonomy. Opponents care about the law can be used to send criminal suspects to China to potentially face vague political charges, possible torture and unfair attempts.

Protesters are also angry at politically compelling tactics by rejecting unrest at a demonstration on June 12. Periodically, the protesters standing on shoulder to shoulder in front of the police headquarters, crescendo in a roar that reverberated through the narrow concrete crevices of the Red-light District of Wanchai. Smaller crowds stood chanting outside of the Lamb's office building.

The statement released late Sunday mentioned the demonstrations and said the government "understands that these views have been made of love and care for Hong Kong."

"The CEO apologized to the people of Hong Kong for this and promised to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticism and make improvements in serving the public."

While the bill has been suspended, the marches want Lam scrap extradition bill, which is entirely supported by Communist leadership in Beijing and departs.

The crowds filled a large main street and side streets parallel to the Victoria Harbor waterfront, as tourists and shoppers who run much of the Asian financial hub's economy looked. At the end of March, hundreds were sitting around the city's headquarters. Some songs. Some listen to speeches. Some just rest.

  Hong Kong Extradition Law
Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam speaks at a press conference on Saturday, June 15, 2019 in Hong Kong.

Kin Cheung / AP

"Our claims are simple. Carrie Lam must leave the office, the extradition law must be withdrawn, and the police must apologize for using extreme violence against their own people," banker John Chow said as he marched with a group of his friends. "And we will continue."

Protesters have primarily focused their anger on Lam, who had little choice than to execute dictates issued by Beijing, where President Xi Jinping has enforced more and more authoritarian rule.

Many here believe that Hong Kong's legal autonomy has been significantly reduced despite Beijing's insistence that it is still called its promise, "a country, two systems", that the territory can maintain its own social, legal and political system in 50 years after the transfer.

rally drew march both young and old, some pushing strollers or transporting dormant babies. Few face masks or seemed to try to hide their identities as opposed to Wednesday's demonstrations, as participants expressed concerns about possible retaliation by the authorities.

Democrats are also angry at how police used tear gas, rubber bullets and other powerful measures as protesters broke through barricades outside the city's headquarters in the lesser but more aggressive protest.

Police presence Sunday was significantly more relaxed, with officers deployed primarily for direct traffic, as the protesters wounded themselves through Hong Kong's commercial center from a sprawling downtown park to the government headquarters.

Later down the parade route, the mourners made sure to put flowers and pay respect in an instant memorial for a man who fell to his death on Saturday after hanging a protest banner that partially read "Make Love, No Shoot" and "No Extradition to China."

  Immigration Law in Hong Kong
Tens of thou Sand's protests carry posters and banners marching through the streets as they continue to protest against a extradition bill on Sunday, June 16, 2019 in Hong Kong.

Kin Cheung / AP

The man slipped the rescue gear after having dressed a time for scaffolding outside a mall. He missed a large pillow set up to catch him and was declared dead in a nearby hospital.

Many protesters had ties on their shirts and brought posters showing demonstrators who had been beaten last week. Pro-democracy activists called for a general strike on Monday, despite Lams' decision to suspend work on the law. Some unions, teacher associations, and other groups planned boycotts of work and classes, demanding that the Lam administration withdraw the proposed changes and not bring them up again for later passage.

"We urge all citizens to continue the campaign," said Bonnie Leung, a leader of the pro-democracy group Civil Human Rights Front. "If new violence occurs, it will be the police officer's responsibility."

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Bobby Yip

The communist party-controlled mainland took control in 1997 with a promise not to interfere in the city's bourgeois freedoms and courts. Many in Hong Kong fear the extradition bill will undermine the freedoms enjoyed here but not elsewhere in China.

"China will just turn Hong Kong into another Chinese city," said Alex To 54, who runs a small business. "Carrie Lam is just a figurehead. Everything depends on the attitudes of Beijing leaders."

Following the announcement by Lam that she was suspending the legislation to avoid more violence and allowing further debate, Chinese officials issued several statements which stressed this decision. However, Lam made it clear that she did not revoke it. She has been questioning whether she should finish and also defend how the police dealt with last week's clashes with protesters.

Lam maintains that extradition legislation is necessary if Hong Kong is to uphold justice, fulfill its international obligations and not become a magnet for refugees. The proposed bill would extend the scope of criminal suspect transfers to Taiwan, Macau and mainland China.

So far, China has been excluded from Hong Kong's extradition agreements because of concerns over its legal independence and human rights record. Persecution of activists, detentions without attempt at five Hong Kong book publishers and the illegal seizure in Hong Kong of mainland agents in at least one mainland worker are among the moves in recent years that have removed many in the city 7 million.

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