In brief

Hong Kong: protesters fear semi-autonomous status is in danger, reject further concessions to China

Student groups demand definitive withdrawal of proposed extradition bill

An instant of the protest.
An instant of the protest. Author: Demosisto
Student groups are demonstrating 21 June in front of the Hong Kong government complex and have blocked some streets to protest against a proposed extradition bill that would make it easier to extradite people from the former UK colony to mainland China.

Protesters are calling on HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam to definitively withdraw the bill as a means to preserve the semi-autonomous status that Hong Kong’s legal system enjoys.

Six student unions had demanded Lam to withdraw the bill 20 June at the latest. If not, they had announced, protests would escalate.

Lam has frozen the bill and has apologized, but has not withdrawn it.

Autonomy under fire

The protests, which began in April, take place within a framework of increasing polarization on whether the Chinese central authorities should be stopped from further mingling in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.

The so-called pandemocratic, or pro-democratic, camp demands that guarantees in Hong Kong be kept in order to exercise basic political and civil rights. It also calls on democratizing measures be introduced. Some in the camp simply seek to preserve semi-autonomy under the current statu quo; others want Hong Kong to become a sovereign country.

The pro-Beijing camp on the contrary seeks increased integration of Hong Kong into China. Carrie Lam, like all the former chief executives since 1997, belongs to the pro-Beijing camp, which does not have majority popular support but controls government thanks to the territory’s electoral law.