The police arrested Jimmy Lai, the founder of Next Media, on suspicion of violating the Hong Kong National Security Law, which aroused the attention of the international community.
Former Hong Kong Governor Patten believes that the arrest of Jimmy Lai, and the dispatch of police officers to the Apple Daily Building, to search the interview materials reflect the Chinese government’s attempt to turn Hong Kong into a police society, and destroy Hong Kong’s status as Freedom of Press, a financial center. He believes that should be dealt with the Chinese government violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and make a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague at the right time.
Reprimanded for turning Hong Kong into a police society
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR, United States) held an online seminar on 13th August, inviting professor Jerome Cohen, School of Law of New York University, former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten, and others to discuss the Hong Kong National Security Law, and Hong Kong autonomy.
Patten pointed out that Jimmy Lai has been advocating for Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy, and implement democracy, which is a model of Hong Kong’s success in the past.
However, the police recently arrested Lai and his two sons, and sent 200 police officers to the Apple Building to search news reports materials. Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and the rule of law have caused serious damage. CCP government is trying to turn Hong Kong into a mainland-like police society, and destroy Hong Kong’s status as a free society and a prosperous financial center in Asia.
Patten is worried that there is not too big difference between being in the Mainland, even if Lai is on trail in Hong Kong. Because Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive has the power to designate which judges can handle Hong Kong National Security Law cases, and also can decide whether the case has a jury and conduct closed-door trials.
He believes that the international community should speak up for HongKongers (Hong Kong people) at the United Nations (UN) level, and lodge a complain to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands at the right time for violation of the “One Country, Two Systems” set out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Let HongKongers know their home is very important for the international community, and has not forgotten, democratic societies such as the United Kingdom and the United States should open their doors to assist young HongKongers who wants to leave Hong Kong but cannot afford it.
Professor Jerome Cohen, School of Law of New York University, is also worried that the arrest of Jimmy Lai is just the “beginning” and that Lai may be “sent to trial in China” in future. Based on past experience of interrogation of political figures being sent to the China, those arrested individuals may be detained in China indefinitely, have been tortured psychologically, physically, and would be sent to a court controlled by the CCP for trial.
Beijing is “crossing the river by touching the stones” on how to implement the Hong Kong National Security Law. What the International community response, will affect those HongKongers being sent for trial in China.
Briefing - Movement of Extradition Bill Amendment
The Movement started on March 15, 2019, a large-scale social movement broke out on June 9. The movement did not have any unified leadership, was mainly organized by social media calls. Supporters of the movement used demonstrations, rallies, sit-ins, singing, shouting, “three strikes” (strike for working, strike for schools, strike for economical activities) actions, setting up Lennon walls, non-cooperative movements, and blocking roads. A series of upgrading actions such as blocking roads, doxing, destroying shops, buildings, and public facilities (mostly for Pro-Beijing background, and Pro-police camp ), protested to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on its proposed amendment to the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. The draft permits of the extradition includes Hong Kong suspects could be sent to mainland China, Macau and Taiwan for trial. Opponents do not trust judicial system of China, and worry that extradition of suspects to China, will lead to unfair trials and harm Hong Kong’s independent jurisdiction area and status under “One country, two systems” based on Sino-British Joint Declaration.
As early as March 15, 2019, Hong Kong Demosistō initiated a sit-in at the government headquarters and requested the withdrawal of the amendment to the Extradition Bill. In March and April, the Civil Human Rights Front launched two demonstrations. The Civil Human Rights Front launched a rally again on 9th June 2019, with a large number of Hong Kong citizens participating.
On June 12, as the Hong Kong Legislative Council resumed the second reading debate, demonstrators clashed with the police.
The police were accused of abusing their power and using excessive force to citizens and press.
Afterwards, the demonstrators put forward the “Five demands”, such as:
“Completely withdrawal of the Extradition Bill”
“Withdrawal of riot characterization (612)”
“Withdrawal and release of all charges for demonstrators”
“Establish investigation of police abuses independently”
“Resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam”.
Civil Human Rights Front launched a larger demonstration on 16th June 2019.
During the demonstration on July 1, some demonstrators occupied the Legislative Council Complex, and later changed the request of “Carrie Lam’s resignation” to :
“Implement the dual universal suffrage – the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council election immediately”
The demonstrators launched regular protests almost every week, and the peaceful demonstrations at the beginning evolved into fierce and violent conflicts between police and civilians.
Later, the movement spread to various parts of Hong Kong, and conflicts with the police intensified.
Demonstrators paralyzed Hong Kong International Airport twice in mid-August.
On August 18, Civil Human Rights Front once again held a large-scale peaceful rally.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced four actions and moved to withdraw the revised draft of the Extradition Bill in the afternoon of September 4.
However, the protesters believed that only one of the “Five demands” in the movement had been implemented, the activities were not stopped.
Fierce demonstrations broke out across Hong Kong on October 1st, which led to Carrie Lam and the Executive Council on the 4th of the same month by unconstitutionally invoking the “Emergency Law”, and enacting the “Regulations on Prohibition of Face Masking”, causing greater conflict.
The demonstrations continuedwith the launch of a new round of “Three strikes” in November. The level of violence among the demonstrators and the antagonism between the people escalated, many people were injured.
After the conflicts intensified, the voters turnout in the district council elections became a record high.
The democrats won 388 of the 450 seats, causing the political forces of the establishment and rural factions to be hit harder than ever.
Additionally, in response to this wave of demonstrations, the United States was prompted to intervene in announcing the passage of the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.”
Two Universities turned into new battle place of demostration
Although the campaign was gradually reduced by the COVID-19 pandemic in late January 2020, some important gatherings held during the Lunar New Year holiday were cancelled by multiple organizers, but various types of gatherings are still going on, there are also demonstrations related to the fight against the epidemic (such as Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre , used as an isolation camp storm) without public consultation.
Before the epidemic in Hong Kong generally subsided in May, there were already signs of a resurgence in demonstrations.
Hong Kong Legislative Council resumed its second reading review and passed the “National Anthem Bill” on June 4th. The third meeting of the 13th National People’s Congress was held in Beijing and passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
The decision to directly enact the “Hong Kong National Security Law” by bypassing the Hong Kong legislative process. The “Hong Kong National Security Law” was passed by the National People’s Congress of China on 30th June 2020, and gazetted after the public did not know the contents of the provisions. It triggered opposition from opponents and expressed concerns from the international community. Also prompted the United States to announce the cancellation of recognition of Hong Kong’s special treatment status and the passage of the “Hong Kong Autonomy Act“.
The police have arrested more than 9,600 people in multiple demonstrations, aged between 11 and 84 as of July 31, 2020.
The number of arrested persons is the highest in Hong Kong’s past demonstrations; of these, at least 2,062 people have been prosecuted, including 662 people accused of rioting. This movement is regarded as the largest social unrest in 52 years since the 1967 riots and the most serious political crisis since the return of Hong Kong in 1997.