Hong Kong leader says China extradition bill is 'dead'

Lester Mason
July 13, 2019

Main image: A protesters with a placard which reads "Strictly enforce the law, stop cross-border traders", during a march in an area popular with Chinese tourists for its pharmacies and cosmetic shops, in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 13, 2019.

The demonstration in the town of Sheung Shui, not far from the Chinese city of Shenzhen, started peacefully but devolved into scuffles and shouting, with police firing pepper spray at protesters who threw umbrellas and hard hats.

They marched to a police barricade at a protest site and bowed their heads for a moment of silence to mourn several young people who have died in the past few weeks, including a man who fell to his death after unfurling banners against the legislation - whose parents have urged young people to continue their struggle.

The first message-board wall in Hong Kong appeared during the 2014 Occupy protests next to a staircase at the city's legislature in Admiralty.

Denouncing the violent incidents and clashes that took place during the anti-extradition bill protests, Wang said the protesters trampled on the rule of law of law, threatening Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

Last month, Lam suspended the bill indefinitely.

Most protests centred on the central business district, but demonstrators have recently begun to look elsewhere to widen support by taking up narrower, more domestic issues.

The demonstrators were protesting against Chinese traders exploiting Hong Kong's no-sales-tax regime, by making short trips to the territory to buy goods that they then haul back to China to sell. March organizers said roughly 30,000 participated. Many street-level shops were shuttered ahead of the march.

The small-time mainland traders have always been a source of anger among some in Hong Kong who argue that they have fuelled inflation, dodged taxes, diluted the town's identity and caused a spike in property prices.

"Our lovely town has become chaos", said Ryan Lai, 50, a local resident. "The extradition bill was the tipping point for us to come out".

When Britain returned Hong Kong to China 22 years ago, Chinese Communist leaders promised the city a high degree of autonomy for 50 years.

"The government, Carrie Lam, some legislators in functional constituencies are not elected by the people, so there are many escalating actions in different districts to reflect different social issues", said Jimmy Sham of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organised protests against the extradition bill. "I hope that through today's action, people in Hong Kong will not forget that there are actually many other social issues waiting to be solved".

Dramatic pictures show masked protesters scrapping with baton-wielding police who are seen wrestling people to the ground.

The scene had calmed down somewhat by 8pm, when most of the protesters were leaving, but more than a hundred police officers in riot gear suddenly appeared at 8.10.

"We have no weapons and we were peaceful".

'There isn't an anti-extradition protest every day to keep us going, ' she said.

"We are all scared now".

Last Saturday, almost 2,000 people marched in the residential district of Tuen Mun to protest against middle-aged mainland women they accused of brashly singing and dancing to pop songs in Mandarin, which many locals considered a nuisance.

Protesters cover themselves with umbrellas as others make graffiti on the gate of a store during an anti-parallel trading protest in Sheung Shui district in Hong Kong on July 13, 2019.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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