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Iran Press TV

Hong Kong leader: Extradition bill won't be dropped despite protests

Iran Press TV

Mon Jun 10, 2019 07:27AM

Hong Kong's leader says the administration has no plan to cancel a bill that will authorize extraditions to mainland China despite mass protests against the proposed measure in the autonomous region.

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Monday that the extradition bill will be put to debate on Wednesday as planned, rejecting calls to delay or withdraw the law.

"This is a very important piece of legislation that will help to uphold justice and also ensure that Hong Kong will fulfill her international obligations in terms of cross-boundary and transnational crimes," Carrie Lam told reporters.

On the weekend, huge crowds marched on downtown Hong Kong, urging the shelving of the proposed bill, which allows for extradition requests from authorities in mainland China for suspects accused of criminal wrongdoing such as murder and rape.

The demonstration was said to be the biggest of its kind since 1979, when Hong Kong returned to China following a century of British rule.

Critics of the measure argue that such a law will limit freedoms in Hong Kong and lead to erosion of judicial independence in the region by exposing its citizens to the mainland's judicial system.

The leader denied turning a blind eye to opponents of the measure, assuring that the bill's human rights safeguards met international standards.

"I and my team have not ignored any views expressed on this very important piece of legislation. We have been listening and listening very attentively," Lam said.

Hong Kong's legislative, executive, and judicial bodies are independent from China, and Beijing only maintains authority in defense, foreign affairs, and constitutional disputes.

Chinese daily blames 'foreign forces'

Reacting to the developments, the mainland on Monday threw its weight behind the Hong Kong government on the proposed law, voicing opposition to "outside interference" in the affairs of the region.

Beijing "will continue to firmly support" the Hong Kong administration, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a regular press briefing. "Second, we firmly oppose any outside interference in the legislative affairs" of the city.

Earlier, a Chinese paper owned by the ruling Communist Party blamed "foreign forces" for the chaos in the region over the bill.

The newspaper cited the benefits of the new bill, warning Hong Kong's residents not to align with the opposition. "Any fair-minded person would deem the amendment bill a legitimate, sensible and reasonable piece of legislation that would strengthen Hong Kong's rule of law and deliver justice," it said. "Unfortunately, some Hong Kong residents have been hoodwinked by the opposition camp and their foreign allies into supporting the anti-extradition campaign."

"They have failed to realize that the opposition camp is using them merely as pawns in its maneuvers to reap political gains … some foreign forces are seizing the opportunity to advance their own strategy to hurt China by trying to create havoc in Hong Kong," the China Daily said.

The editorial did not mention any country in particular.

However, Beijing has in the past denounced US interference in Hong Kong's affairs.

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