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Why lakhs are protesting on the streets in Hong Kong

Topics covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Why lakhs are protesting on the streets in Hong Kong

 

What to study?

For prelims: Geographical and political position of Hong Kong.

For mains: The recent controversy over the extradition bill, concerns expressed, key features of the bill and what needs to be done?

 

Context: Huge protests in Hong Kong.

 

Reasons behind:

The protesters were marching against proposed changes in the law that would allow suspects accused of crimes such as murder and rape to be extradited to mainland China to face trial.

Once the law is changed, Hong Kong will also hand over to China individuals accused of crimes in Taiwan and Macau. Macau, like Hong Kong, is a Chinese special administrative region with significant autonomy.

 

China’s response:

The government has said that the proposed amendments would “plug loopholes” that allow the city to be used by criminals. It has assured that courts in Hong Kong would make the final decision on extradition, that only certain categories of suspects would be liable, and that individuals accused of political and religious offences would not be extradited.

 

The protesters in Hong Kong are concerned mainly because:

China may use the changed law to target political opponents in Hong Kong.

Extradited suspects are likely to face torture. Also, they say, the change in the law will deal another blow to Hong Kong’s already crumbling autonomy.

 

International response:

Human Rights Watch and the International Chamber of Commerce have warned against changing the law. A body of the US Congress has said it would make Hong Kong vulnerable to Chinese “political coercion”, and the UK and Canada have expressed concern over the potential impact on their citizens in Hong Kong. The EU has sent a diplomatic note.

 

Relationship of Hong Kong with respect to China:

The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and is semi-autonomous under the “one country, two systems” principle. It has its own laws and courts, and allows its residents a range of civil liberties. Hong Kong does not have an extradition agreement with Beijing.

 

Sources: Indian express.

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