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What exactly brought Hong Kong into a 'violent storm'?

BEIJING, Aug. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by China.org.cn on Hong Kong's recent riots:

Riots have raged for two months since the first large-scale demonstration took place in Hong Kong in June. Well-organized rioters stormed the offices of the central government in Hong Kong, vandalized the Legislative Council (LegCo) building, paralyzed public facilities, attacked police, and even assaulted ordinary people.

All these illegal activities originated from an event in February when the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government submitted amendments in regard to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance for discussion by the Legislative Council. The amendments were aimed at filling a loophole in the HKSAR's existing legal framework.

Here are the whys and wherefores of the whole episode. In February 2018, a pair of young lovers from Hong Kong traveled to Taiwan, where they quarreled. The man surnamed Chan murdered his girlfriend, threw away her body and fled back to Hong Kong. Since the Hong Kong courts have no jurisdiction over Taiwan homicide cases, the local police could not prosecute Chan for murder. There is no extradition agreement between Hong Kong and Taiwan, either, so Chan couldn't even be sent back to Taiwan for trial. Thus, the amendments were proposed to address these anomalies.

The HKSAR government had hoped to solve problems involving criminal judicial assistance with countries and regions that have not signed an extradition agreement through an individual case handling approach. This would avoid Hong Kong becoming a "fugitive's paradise" in a sense. The so-called "individual case handling approach" means working on a case-by-case basis, under which concrete conditions require concrete analysis. Moreover, strict procedural provisions have been made, with particular emphasis on the non-extradition of political prisoners and the need for all extradition procedures to comply with the human rights guarantees under the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.

In addition to closing a loophole in the existing law, such a measure could also save plenty of time and labor costs involved in major legal amendments. Clearly, this is a better choice for the existing judicial system of Hong Kong.

However, the justifiable nature of this legislative proposal was deliberately distorted by opposition forces. Meanwhile, some news media, locally and abroad, spread rumors and provoked further conflict, adding fuel to the fire. With the support of hostile foreign forces, the violence in Hong Kong started to escalate. Radical protesters attacked police with bricks, toxic liquids and petrol bombs, and assaulted local residents and journalists as well.

Today, Hong Kong is suffering in terms of both economic development and public order, as local stock market plunged and traffic is paralyzed.

Since its return to the motherland, Hong Kong continues to enjoy a high degree of freedom. Its residents' freedom of peaceful assembly and procession to express their political will is protected by the Basic Law of HKSAR. However, some have chosen to take the extradition amendment as an excuse, colluding with hostile foreign forces and provoking riots threatening Hong Kong's stability and China's sovereignty. Such violence is intolerable in any country, and shall certainly face legal sanctions. This is the principle that should be followed by every rule-based society.

In the 22 years since Hong Kong's return, it has witnessed prosperity and stability both economically and socially. Such achievement deserves to be cherished. Any acts that damage the interests of Hong Kong and the Chinese nation must be severely punished.

(Advisor to this episode: Zhang Dinghuai, professor at the Center for Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, Shenzhen University)

China Mosaic

What exactly brought Hong Kong into a 'violent storm'?

About China.org.cn

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