For months, Hong Kong’s streets have seethed with discontent. Scenes from the semiautonomous region show protesters, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands, many wearing surgical masks and carrying umbrellas that have come to signify resistance.
The images are astonishing, and the issues that set the protests in motion are complex.
So here’s a primer breaking down the major players, why they have poured into the streets and the response so far from China.
Why are the protests happening?
The latest spasm of discontent traces to February, when members of Hong Kong’s government proposed an extradition bill known as the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019.
That measure would expand the range of countries where suspected offenders may be sent, beyond the list of those with which Hong Kong has mutual extradition agreements. Under the bill’s provisions, the region would be able to extradite suspects to other countries on a case-by-case basis, with the chief executive holding significant power over which cases apply.
Notably, this opens the door to extradition to mainland China, which has sought greater control over the former British colony since it was restored to Beijing in 1997 as a special administrative region with its own independent court system.
Source – npr.org
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