Protesters from Demosisto and Lingnan College encompass by safety after storming Hong Kong authorities headquarters over proposal to extradite fugitives to mainland China, in Hong Kong, China March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Stanley LeungReuters
By James Pomfret and Anne Marie Roantree
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong police on Friday arrested 5 girls who staged a protest inside the federal government’s headquarters over a proposal to permit fugitives to be extradited to mainland China, stoking human rights considerations.
In February, Hong Kong’s Safety Bureau submitted a paper to town’s legislature, proposing amendments to extradition legal guidelines that would come with granting town’s chief executive energy to ship fugitives to jurisdictions not lined by current preparations, together with mainland China and Taiwan.
The proposal has been strongly opposed by some lawmakers, authorized and rights teams who worry such it could possibly be exploited by Beijing’s Communist Social gathering leaders and result in an erosion of Hong Kong’s judicial independence.
In video footage posted on-line, the 5, who have been demanding the extradition amendments be scrapped, rushed into the foyer of presidency headquarters the place they staged a sit-down protest.
“Oppose legalized kidnapping,” the ladies, together with a number of members of the pro-democracy social gathering Demosisto, shouted. They have been later hauled out by police into automobiles.
The Hong Kong authorities stated in an announcement a complete of 9 protesters have been “removed” for blocking the foyer of its headquarters, and feminine safety guard had been injured in a skirmish. A police spokesman gave no fast remark.
Since Hong Kong reverted from British to Chinese language rule in 1997 with the assure that it might get pleasure from a excessive diploma of autonomy and freedoms not allowed in mainland China, there was no formal mechanism for the give up of fugitives to mainland China.
The Hong Kong Bar Affiliation stated in an announcement that this was not an oversight, however a results of “grave concerns” about China’s authorized and judicial system.
It stated authorities have been “jumping the gun” in looking for to drive by way of such advert hoc rendition preparations with China with no full session.
Some enterprise teams, together with the American Chamber of Commerce, expressed “serious reservations” in regards to the proposal in a submission to Hong Kong’s Secretary for Safety John Lee, and stated they’d “undermine perceptions of Hong Kong as a safe and secure haven for international business operations”.
The proposal additionally seeks to take away legislative oversight on particular person extradition requests that will come up by giving town chief executive authority to make such choices.
Within the February paper, the Safety Bureau stated “human rights and procedural safeguards” would stay unchanged. Requests in relation “to offences of a political character” shall be refused, the bureau stated.
However some critics have expressed concern over how a political offense could be outlined.
Demosisto, in an announcement, described the proposed extradition reform as “an attempt to prepare to entrap oppositional voices for China”.
A former Chinese language deputy minister for public safety, Chen Zhimin, advised reporters in Beijing this week that greater than 300 “fugitives” wished by mainland authorities have been hiding in Hong Kong. He didn’t give particulars.
(Modifying by Robert Birsel)
Copyright 2019 Thomson Reuters.