John Lee sworn in as new Hong Kong leader
Earlier than the pandemic and the enactment of the nationwide safety legislation in 2020, July 1 — the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese language rule — was historically marked by pro-democracy marches.
On this day three years ago, turnout was boosted by anger over a proposed legislation that may have allowed extradition from town to China, which introduced hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers into the streets, finally forcing the federal government to droop the invoice.
Critics feared the legislation could possibly be used to grab authorities critics and ship them throughout the border to face trial in a system with a 99% conviction charge and a historical past of political prosecutions.
Earlier than the principle march received underway on July 1, 2019, a small, breakaway group of protesters — lots of them of their teenagers and 20s and carrying masks, helmets and different protecting gear — surrounded the Legislative Council complicated.
Utilizing makeshift battering rams and steel bars to smash via bolstered glass, members of the group pressured their approach into LegCo, the place they daubed anti-extradition invoice slogans on the partitions, smashed the inside and draped the territory’s former colonial flag throughout the principle chamber’s central podium.
Police didn’t act as protesters attacked the constructing or stormed inside, and a whole lot have been in a position to stay within the legislature for as much as three hours, earlier than phrase of an imminent clearance operation introduced them again onto the streets.
Inside minutes of protesters taking a collective choice to exit the constructing police fired tear gasoline and used baton costs to disperse the gang.
The subsequent day, Hong Kong’s then chief Carrie Lam condemned the protesters’ actions, saying they’d used “excessive … violence and vandalism.”
The Chinese language authorities’s response was equally essential. A spokesman for the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Workplace stated the “radical” demonstrations had been an “open problem” to town’s system of governance.
“This sort of extreme unlawful motion damages Hong Kong’s rule of legislation, social order and hurts Hong Kong’s basic pursuits,” the assertion stated, including that Beijing was absolutely behind town’s police power.
The way it’s seen as we speak: The storming of LegCo marked a turning level within the protest motion and China’s view of it. Precisely a yr later, Beijing bypassed town’s legislature to impose the national security law on town, which critics say, has been used to crush town’s opposition motion, overhaul its electoral system, silence its outspoken media and cripple its once-vibrant civil society.