The Images Coming out of Hong Kong Are Simply Jawdropping

More than 1 million turn out to protest extradition law

Hong Kong, Sunday, June 9, 2019. Vincent Yu/AP Photo

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More than a million people took to the streets in Hong Kong Sunday to protest a proposed law that would allow extraditions from the city to mainland China, a move critics say would give China power to remove political dissidents without input from local authorities and judges. Hong Kong’s judicial system is seen as far more independent than those elsewhere in China. The law backed by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive, Carrie Lam, is viewed as a significant threat to political, artistic, and academic freedom in the former British colony.

When Britain relinquished control of Hong Kong in 1997 and handed it over to China, the Chinese government had pledged to allow the capitalist territory semi-autonomy for 50 years. But since then, China has been increasingly aggressive in asserting its power over Hong Kong. For the past three years, China’s security forces have kidnapped political opponents and business executives off the streets there without even the pretext of a legal extradition proceeding. Critics have said the proposed extradition law would simply legalize the kidnapping.

Legislators in Hong Kong are scheduled to vote on the proposed law later this month, a decision that was met with a silent protest last week by about 3,000 judges and lawyers concerned with the bill. On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of mostly ordinary Hong Kong residents—from housewife clubs to artists to businesspeople—joined the gathering  and continued demonstrating well into the evening.

The New York Times correspondent in Hong Kong reported that the police were starting to use billy clubs late Sunday night to keep the protesters away from the Legislative Council offices. 

Sunday’s protests in Hong Kong came a week after the 30th anniversary of the protests at Tiananmen Square, when the Chinese government brutally massacred hundreds, possibly thousands, of students and other pro-democracy activists who were protesting the corruption of one-party rule. Protesters in Hong Kong held a vigil to commemorate the anniversary, but the Beijing was mute on the subject, as it has been in the past. Its only public comment on the event was to criticize Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for publicly honoring the fallen protesters.  

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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