HK res­i­dents slam vi­o­lence against ex­tra­di­tion bill

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Yang Sheng

Vi­o­lent ac­tiv­i­ties con­tin­ued in the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion (HKSAR) and have caused the city’s Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil to post­pone a meet­ing to scru­ti­nize the ex­tra­di­tion bill that could al­low the Chi­nese main­land to ex­tra­dite crim­i­nals from Hong Kong.

A South China Morn­ing Post re­port on Wed­nes­day said many masked vi­o­lent ac­tivists “armed with um­brel­las and gog­gles are oc­cu­py­ing all roads lead­ing to Hong Kong’s leg­is­la­ture as the gov­ern­ment was forced to de­lay de­bate on the ex­tra­di­tion bill.”

Th­ese vi­o­lent ac­tivists are mostly young peo­ple who had camped there overnight. They built metal bar­ri­cades and walls of loose bricks in a face-off with riot po­lice bear­ing shields and ba­tons. Po­lice used pep­per spray on the crowds ear­lier, the Hong Kong-based news­pa­per said.

Hung Wai-man,

a deputy of the HKSAR to the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, told the Global Times that al­though the ex­tra­di­tion bill is con­tentious, both sides of the bill strongly op­pose vi­o­lence.

“Those vi­o­lent ac­tivists are a group of ex­treme and rad­i­cal peo­ple who do not rep­re­sent the main­stream of the city at all,” Hung said.

Chan Cheuk-hay, a Hong Kong mem­ber of the Na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, said that the lack of knowl­edge of both the bill and na­tional se­cu­rity among the lo­cals has al­lowed pro­test­ers to rad­i­cal­ize many peo­ple.

“This has made rea­son­able di­a­logue very dif­fi­cult. Many peo­ple dis­tort the ex­tra­di­tion bill… in fact, the bill is nec­es­sary and can guar­an­tee the rights and free­dom of Hong Kong cit­i­zens, so if pro­test­ers know the de­tails of the bill, I think most of them will change their minds,” Chan said.

Pres­i­dents of 10 Hong Kong uni­ver­si­ties is­sued a joint state­ment urg­ing the dif­fer­ent groups to con­sult each other to solve the dis­pute on the ex­tra­di­tion bill as the sit­u­a­tion be­came more in­tense on Wed­nes­day, Ming­pao re­ported.

Many Hong Kong web users on Hong Kong news por­tal web­sites like ming­pao.com and sthead­line.com crit­i­cized those who op­pose the ex­tra­di­tion bill and the vi­o­lence in re­cent days.

“The main­land can­not ex­tra­dite crim­i­nals from Hong Kong? Is there any­thing that can be more ridicu­lous than this? We are in one coun­try! Those crim­i­nals should op­pose the bill, not or­di­nary peo­ple of the city,” said one named Charles Choy on sthead­line. com.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Geng Shuang said at a rou­tine press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day that the Chi­nese cen­tral gov­ern­ment firmly sup­ports the HKSAR to push for­ward the work of the leg­is­la­tion amend­ment on ex­tra­di­tion, and any be­hav­ior that harms Hong Kong’s pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity would be op­posed by the main­stream pub­lic opin­ion of the city.

Geng also said China ex­pressed strong dis­sat­is­fac­tion and res­o­lute op­po­si­tion to US fig­ures for their ir­re­spon­si­ble state­ments on the Hong Kong is­sue as this is a purely Chi­nese mat­ter that no coun­try or in­di­vid­ual has the right to in­ter­fere in.

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