Hong Kong Protests Escalates: Airport Chaos While Chinese Military Vehicles Gathering Along the Hong Kong Border

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Thousands of protesters and police in Hong Kong are engaged in a stand-off as anger grows over a bill which would allow extradition to mainland China.

Nexter.org explains what is going on and why people in Hong Kong are outraged by the extradition bill.

Hong Kong airport chaos and Chinese military troops

Large numbers of Chinese paramilitary forces have been filmed assembling just 30km (18.6 miles) from Hong Kong in the city of Shenzhen, as riot police clashed with protesters occupying the airport for a second day.

hong-kong-protests-airport-military-pic

Source: Reuters

The scuffles broke out in the evening between police and protesters, after paramedics attempted to reach an injured man whom protesters had detained on suspicion of being an undercover agent.

President Donald Trump addressed the escalating situation in Hong Kong Tuesday, saying US intelligence indicates “the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border,” but security officials tell CNN that Beijing regularly maintains a force presence there.

“Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!” Trump tweeted after landing in Pittsburgh for an event on manufacturing.

The demonstrations on Tuesday turned violent after protestors shut down the airport and clashed with riot police, raising fears that Beijing may be moving closer to considering forces.

This week Amnesty International said Hong Kong police have violated human rights by using gas, rubber bullets and pepper ball projectiles on the protestors in confined spaces.

Source: Reuters

Officers disguised themselves as protesters to arrest suspects, launched tear gas inside a subway station and fired on protesters at close range with less-than-lethal ammunition. One young woman was shot in the face with what appeared to be a bean bag round, severely injuring her eye.

hong-kong-protests-airport-military-photo

Source: AP

Police said Monday that the videos and photos had to be verified and that they could not confirm “the reasoning behind this lady’s injury.”

How it all started

china-hong-kong-protests-extradition-law-photo

Source: Reuters

People are taking part in protests against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong.

Thousands of protesters – mostly young people and students – took to the streets and attempted to block access to government buildings ahead of the scheduled debate of the bill. Early on Wednesday protesters, some wearing face masks and helmets blocked key roads around government buildings.

“This behavior has gone beyond the scope of peaceful gatherings,” the Hong Kong Police Force said in a tweet on Wednesday. “We call on [protesters] to leave as soon as possible… otherwise we will use appropriate force.”

According to the latest reports, police push back protesters with batons and tear gas.

china-hong-kong-protests-extradition-law-photo

Source: Kyodo News/Getty Images

What’s the extradition law and why is it controversial?

The changes will allow for extradition requests from authorities in mainland China, Taiwan and Macau for suspects accused of criminal wrongdoings, such as murder and rape.

The requests will then be decided on a case-by-case basis.

china-hong-kong-protests-extradition-law-photo

Source: James Griffiths

In the proposed ordinance, there are 37 categories of extraditable crimes, each of which includes multiple offences. They include murder; aiding and abetting suicide; bodily assault (including threats to kill); sexual assault; kidnapping; corruption; money laundering; piracy, and “offences relating to the unlawful termination of pregnancy.”

There has been a lot of public opposition, and critics say people would be subject to arbitrary detention, unfair trial and torture under China’s judicial system.

“The proposed changes to the extradition laws will put anyone in Hong Kong doing work related to the mainland at risk,” said Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch in a statement. “No one will be safe, including activists, human rights lawyers, journalists, and social workers.”

china-hong-kong-protests-extradition-law-photo

Source: Getty Images

Here’s what you need to know about Hong Kong’s relationship with China

Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 until sovereignty was returned to China in 1997.

Central to the handover was the agreement of the Basic Law, a mini-constitution that gives Hong Kong broad autonomy and sets out certain rights.

china-hong-kong-protests-extradition-law-pic4

Source: Reuters

Under the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong has kept its judicial independence, its own legislature, its economic system and the Hong Kong dollar.

Its residents were also granted protection of certain human rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech and assembly.

However, the Basic Law expires in 2047 and what happens to Hong Kong’s autonomy after that is unclear.


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Hong Kong Protests Escalates: Airport Chaos While Chinese Military Vehicles Gathering Along the Hong Kong Border
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Hong Kong Protests Escalates: Airport Chaos While Chinese Military Vehicles Gathering Along the Hong Kong Border
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Thousands of protesters and police in Hong Kong are engaged in a stand-off as anger grows over a bill which would allow extradition to mainland China. Nexter.org explains what is going on and why people in Hong Kong are outraged by the extradition bill.
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