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Global Times

Central government firmly supports Hong Kong in amending extradition legislation: FM

Global Times

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/10 21:08:40

China's central government firmly supports the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government in amending the extradition legislation and sternly objects to any foreign intervention in Hong Kong's legislative affairs, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Geng Shuang, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the remarks at a routine press conference on Monday after protesters took to Hong Kong streets on Sunday night to voice opposition to the amendments of an extradition bill.

Some Western countries also stepped into the issue, with people in Australia, US, Canada and Britain reportedly holding protest rallies against the Hong Kong government's move to amend the legislation.

The US State Department even said that it was "closely monitoring" the Hong Kong government's proposed amendments.

In response, the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region expressed strong dissatisfaction and opposition on Monday to the US.

"We urge the US to stop spreading false and irresponsible statements, stop interfering in the normal legislative agenda of the Hong Kong government, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs," read the office's statement.

After the protest in Hong Kong, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Monday that the Hong Kong government would not withdraw the extradition bill, but vowed to further explain the purpose of the extradition bill to ease public concerns, Radio Television Hong Kong reported on Monday.

The Hong Kong government described the protest as an example of Hong Kong people exercising their freedom of expression within their rights as enshrined in the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance, and said the march, though large, was generally peaceful and orderly with police offering the needed facilitation, according to a statement the government issued.

The government also explained that the amendments cover only the most serious crimes punishable by imprisonment of seven years or more, and none of these serious criminal offenses relate to the freedom of assembly, of the press, of speech, of academic freedom or publication.

The Hong Kong government has submitted the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 to LegCo, the Legislative Council, in March, and the bill was meant to address a homicide case where a Hong Kong resident was murdered in Taiwan, and to plug the loopholes in Hong Kong's overall mechanism in juridical assistance, according to a press release on the website of the Hong Kong government. The bill will enable Hong Kong to transfer fugitives to Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.

More than 800,000 Hong Kong residents have signed their support to the amendments as of Sunday afternoon, media reported.

But some Hong Kong opposition figures tried to politicize the normal legislative affairs, and used it to strengthen their interactions with Western countries, experts said.

A group of Hong Kong opposition activists visited the US in May and met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asking the US to pressure the Hong Kong government to revoke the amendments.

Tian Feilong, an assistant professor at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that the US picked up its Hong Kong card again amid the escalating trade war with China, aiming to contain and pressure China.

However, the amendments will be passed eventually, and what Hong Kong opposition forces and the US want will never come true, Tian stressed.



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