2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests

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2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests
June9protestTreefong01.jpg June16protestTreefong15.jpg
Hundreds of thousands of protesters marching in white on 9 June (top) and in black 16 June (bottom).
Date31 March 2019 – ongoing
(3 months and 3 weeks)
Location
Main demonstrations in Hong Kong:

Solidarity protests:

  • Dozens of other cities abroad
Caused by
Goals
  • Resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the holding of free and fair elections for the Legislative Council and the Chief Executive
  • Complete withdrawal of the Extradition Bill
  • Release and exoneration of rioters
  • Accountability for police force
  • Retract the characterisation of the 12 June protest as a riot
Methods Occupations, sit-ins, civil disobedience, mobile street protests, Internet activism, mass strike, protest art, hunger strikes, Lennon Walls
StatusOngoing
Concessions
given
  • Bill suspended on 15 June; Lam apologised to the public on 16 June; Lam said 'The bill is dead' on 9 July
  • Police partially retracts the characterisation of the protest as "riot" [2]
Parties to the civil conflict
Protesters

(no centralised leadership)

Casualties
Death(s)4 (all suicide) [3] [4] [5] [6]
Injuries90+ (as of 14 June 2019) [7]
Arrested100+ (as of 16 July 2019) [8] [9] [10] [11]
2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests
Traditional Chinese 反逃犯條例修訂運動
Simplified Chinese 反逃犯条例修订运动
Anti-repatriation protests
Chinese 反送中運動

The 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests are a series of ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong and other cities around the world against the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill proposed by the Hong Kong government.

Contents

The protests arose over concerns that such legislation would blur the demarcation between the legal systems (also known as "one country, two systems") in Hong Kong and mainland China, subjecting Hong Kong residents and those passing through the city to de facto jurisdiction of courts controlled by the Communist Party of China. [12] [13] [14] [15] The bill was first proposed by Secretary for Security John Lee in February 2019. The first protest happened on 31 March with a peak estimate of 12,000 pro-democracy protesters. The movement gained stronger momentum after a second demonstration on 28 April, attracting an estimated 130,000 protesters. [16] [17] [18]

One country, two systems constitutional principle of the Peoples Republic of China

"One country, two systems" is a constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping, the Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China (PRC), for the reunification of China during the early 1980s. He suggested that there would be only one China, but distinct Chinese regions such as Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic and administrative systems, while the rest of the PRC uses the socialism with Chinese characteristics system. Under the principle, each of the two regions could continue to have its own governmental system, legal, economic and financial affairs, including trade relations with foreign countries.

Mainland China geopolitical area under the jurisdiction of the Peoples Republic of China excluding Special Administrative Regions

Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, is the geopolitical as well as geographical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It includes Hainan island and strictly speaking, politically, does not include the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, even though both are partially on the geographic mainland.

Communist Party of China Political party of the Peoples Republic of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

Starting from June, many demonstrations followed, some of which attracted hundreds of thousands of people. A protest held on 9 June was attended by 240,000 people according to police sources, or over 1 million people according to organisers. [19] On 12 June, the day the government had attempted to table the bill for its second reading, protests outside government headquarters escalated into violent clashes. [20] Allegations of excessive force by the police used severely strained the relationship between the police and the protesters, the press and the medical profession; accountability for police brutality became one of organisers' demands at subsequent protests. [21] [22] A protest march held on 16 June was attended by nearly 2 million people, according to organisers; [23] [24] police sources estimated 338,000 protesters at the height of the march. [25]

As the city marked the 22nd anniversary of its 1997 handover, the annual pro-democracy protest march organised by civil rights groups claimed a record turnout of 550,000 while police placed the estimate around 190,000. Separately, hundreds of young protesters stormed the Legislative Council and desecrated symbols associated with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and pro-Beijing elements inside the building. [26] International protests in solidarity also took place in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Sydney and Taipei.

Handover of Hong Kong Hong Kongs return to China

The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, commonly known as the handover of Hong Kong, occurred at midnight on 1 July 1997, when the United Kingdom ended administration for the colony of Hong Kong and passed control of the territory to China. Hong Kong became a special administrative region and continues to maintain governing and economic systems separate from those of mainland China.

The Hong Kong 1 July protests is an annual protest rally originally held by the Civil Human Rights Front from the day of handover in 1997 on the HKSAR establishment day. However, it was not until 2003 that the march drew large public attention by opposing the legislation of Basic Law Article 23. The 2003 protest, with 500,000 marchers, was the second-largest protest seen in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover.

Legislative Council Complex legislative building

The Legislative Council Complex is the headquarters of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. The complex is located at 1 Legislative Council Road, Central, Hong Kong. Construction of the LegCo Complex commenced in 2008 and was completed in 2011. It was the first purpose-built building for the Hong Kong legislature.

On 9 July, Chief Executive Carrie Lam pronounced the extradition bill dead, using an ambiguous Cantonese phrase (壽終正寢 Jyutping: sau6 zung1 zing3 cam2) that may be translated as "dying a peaceful death." [27] [28] [29] She called amendment efforts a "total failure." [30] Lam gave no assurances, however, that the bill would be completely withdrawn, or that any of the other demands of protestors would be addressed. [31] [32] Since July, the city continued to be paralysed by waves of localised protests, some of which have turned violent.

Carrie Lam Chief Executive of Hong Kong

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBM, GBS is a Hong Kong politician serving as the 4th and current Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017. She served as the Chief Secretary for Administration, the most senior principal official, from 2012 to 2017, and as Secretary for Development from 2007 to 2012.

Jyutping romanization scheme for Cantonese

Jyutping is a romanisation system for Cantonese developed by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK), an academic group, in 1993. Its formal name is The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong Cantonese Romanisation Scheme. The LSHK promotes the use of this romanisation system.

Background

In 1987, the territorial principle was proposed to settle the jurisdiction issue between Hong Kong and mainland China by the Special Group on Law of the Hong Kong Basic Law Consultative Committee, so that any person, whether an inhabitant of Hong Kong or of mainland China, who has committed an offence should be prosecuted and tried at the place of offence. [33] In 1998, pro-democrat legislator Martin Lee, one of the group members, said in a Legislative Council meeting that the Hong Kong government should "stand firm" on the territorial principle and "must tackle without delay" the rendition arrangement with China. [34] [35] However, there is no such arrangement as of 2019.

The territorial principle is a principle of public international law under which a sovereign state can prosecute criminal offences that are committed within its borders. The principle also bars states from exercising jurisdiction beyond their borders, unless they have jurisdiction under other principles such as the principle of nationality, the passive personality principle, the protective principle, and possibly universal jurisdiction.

Martin Lee Hong Kong politician

Martin Lee Chu-ming, SC, JP is a Hong Kong politician and barrister. He is the founding chairman of the United Democrats of Hong Kong and its successor, the Democratic Party, Hong Kong's flagship pro-democracy party. He was also a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong from 1985 to 1997 and from 1998 to 2008. Nicknamed the "Father of Democracy" in Hong Kong, he is recognised as one of the most prominent advocates for democracy and human rights in Hong Kong and China.

The bill was first proposed by the Hong Kong government in February 2019 in response to a 2018 homicide involving a Hong Kong couple while visiting Taiwan. Hong Kong does not have a treaty with Taiwan that allows for the arrest and extradition, even for murder. Negotiating such treaty would be problematic since the government of China does not recognise the sovereignty of Taiwan. To resolve this issue, the Hong Kong government proposed an amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (Cap. 503) and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Ordinance (Cap. 525) that would establish a mechanism for case-by-case transfers of fugitives, on the order of the Chief Executive, to any jurisdiction with which the city lacks a formal extradition treaty, [15] and controversially included extradition to mainland China.

The inclusion of mainland China in the amendment became of concern to different sections of society. Democracy advocates expressed fears that the city's jurisdiction would merge itself with Chinese laws administered by the Communist Party, thereby eroding the "one country, two systems" principle established since the Handover in 1997. Opponents had urged the Hong Kong government to establish an extradition arrangement solely with Taiwan, and to sunset the arrangement immediately after the surrender of the suspect. [15] [36]

Events

31 March demonstration

The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), a platform for 50 pro-democracy groups, launched its first protest against the bill on 31 March, from Southorn Playground in Wan Chai to the government headquarters in Admiralty. Pro-democracy camp's convener Claudia Mo and Lam Wing-kee, the owner of Causeway Bay Books who was kidnapped by Chinese agents in 2015, led the rally. High-profile democracy activists, like Cardinal Joseph Zen, barristers Martin Lee and Margaret Ng, and Apple Daily owner Jimmy Lai, also attended the rally. Organisers claimed 12,000 people took part in the march, while police put the peak figure at 5,200. [37]

28 April march

Thousands of protesters marched in Wan Chai against the proposed China extradition law on 28 April 2019. Protest against proposed extradition law view from Wan Chai 20190428.jpg
Thousands of protesters marched in Wan Chai against the proposed China extradition law on 28 April 2019.

A second protest march against the extradition bill took place on 28 April. While police estimated 22,800 protesters, organisers claimed 130,000 protesters partook in the march. The latter figure was the highest since the estimated 510,000 who joined the annual 1 July protest in 2014. The rally began at East Point Road, Causeway Bay and headed to the Legislative Council in Admiralty, a 2.2-kilometre (1.4 mi) route representing over four hours of marching. [16]

The next day, Chief Executive Carrie Lam remained adamant that the bill would be enacted and said the Legislative councillors had to pass new extradition laws before their summer break. Lam said Chan could be out of prison by October hence the urgency of passing the extradition bill. [17] Although Chan received a prison sentence on 29 April, Secretary for Security John Lee said that Chan could be free to leave Hong Kong early for good behaviour. [18]

6 June lawyers' silent march

Thousands of lawyers marched in black against the extradition bill on 6 June 2019. Xiang Gang Fa Lu Jie 3Qian Ren Hei Yi You Xing 2.jpg
Thousands of lawyers marched in black against the extradition bill on 6 June 2019.

Legal professionals concerned about the extradition bill also staged a silent march on 6 June. In black attire, lawyers, legal academics and law students marched from the Court of Final Appeal to the Central Government Offices. Dennis Kwok, Legislative Councillor for the Legal constituency, and Martin Lee and Denis Chang, two former Hong Kong Bar Association chairmen, led the march. The group of lawyers stood silently in front of government headquarters for three minutes. Kwok said, "We shall not bow our heads [to the government]". [38] More than 3,000 lawyers, representing around one-quarter of the city's legal professionals, attended the march. It was the fifth and largest protest march held by lawyers in Hong Kong since 1997. [39]

While the protesting lawyers expressed reservations about openness and fairness of the justice system in China, Secretary Lee said the legal sector did not really understand the bill and some had not read the bill before protesting. [39]

9 June protest

Daytime rally

Mass protest on 9 June: organisers estimated 1 million participants; police said 270,000 at its peak. June9protestTreefong03.jpg
Mass protest on 9 June: organisers estimated 1 million participants; police said 270,000 at its peak.

Before the government tabled the extradition bill' second reading in the Legislative Council on 12 June, the CHRF had called Hong Kong people to march against the bill on 9 June – an approximately 3 km (1.86 mi) route from Victoria Park to the Legislative Council in Admiralty.

Police ordered MTR to not stop trains at Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Tin Hau stations for several hours. [40] Protesters had to exit at Fortress Hill to join the protest. [41] Police urged protesters to start off before the official 3 pm start-time to ease overcrowding; police were forced to open up all lanes on Hennessy Road, having previously refused to do so. [42] A significant number of protesters were still leaving Victoria Park up to four hours after the start time, and were still arriving at the end-point at Admiralty seven hours after the protest began. [43]

CHRF convenor Jimmy Sham said that 1.03 million people attended the march, the largest protest Hong Kong has seen since the 1997 handover, surpassing the turnout seen at mass rallies in support of the Tiananmen protests of 1989 and 1 July demonstration of 2003. [44] While reports suggested it had been the largest ever, [45] the police put the crowd at only 270,000 at its peak. [46] [47] [48]

Night-time clashes

Hundreds of protesters camped in front of the government headquarters well into the night, with more joining them in response to calls from Demosistō and pro-independence activists. Police formed a human chain to prevent protesters from entering Harcourt Road, the main road next to government headquarters, while Special Tactical Squad (STS) stood by for potential conflicts. [49] Although the CHRF officially had called an end to the march at 10 pm, around 100 protesters remained at Civic Square. [50]

Protesters on Harcourt Road at night, with police on standby. 9 June 2019 June9protestTreefong11.jpg
Protesters on Harcourt Road at night, with police on standby. 9 June 2019

At 11 pm, the government issued a press statement, saying it "acknowledge[s] and respect[s] that people have different views on a wide range of issues", but insisted the second reading debate on the bill would resume on 12 June. [51] In response to the government's statement, several members of Demosistō staged a sit-in protest outside the Legislative Council Complex demanding a dialogue with Chief Executive Lam and Secretary Lee, while pro-independence groups, Student Localism and the Students Independent Union, called for escalating protest actions if the government failed to respond to their demand to withdraw the bill. [49]

Around midnight, tensions escalated and clashes broke out between protesters and officers at the Legislative Council Complex. [46] Protesters threw bottles and metal barricades at police and pushed barricades while officers responded with pepper spray. Riot police pushed back against the crowd and secured the area, while police on Harcourt Road also pushed protesters back onto the pavements. Clashes shifted to Lung Wo Road as many protesters gathered and barricaded themselves from the officers. Several hundred protesters were herded by officers towards Lung King Street in Wan Chai around 2 am and then moved onto Gloucester Road. [46]

The South China Morning Post described the night protest as similar to "bigger clashes during the 2014 Occupy protests". [50] The number of protesters gradually dwindled around 3 am. [50] By the end of the clearance, 19 protesters had been arrested while 358, who had been corralled along the wall of the Old Wan Chai Police Station by a large number of officers, had their profiles recorded; 80 percent of them were younger than 25. [8]

The next morning, Chief Executive Lam refused to withdraw the bill but acknowledged that the sizeable rally showed there were "clearly still concerns" over the bill. [52] Pressed about whether she would resign, she asserted it was important to have a stable governing team "when our economy is going to undergo some very severe challenges because of external uncertainties." [53]

12 June siege of LegCo

Early stage

Online groups called on people to "picnic" on the morning of 12 June at Tamar Park. People in Tamar Park 20190612.jpg
Online groups called on people to "picnic" on the morning of 12 June at Tamar Park.

A general strike had been called for 12 June, the day of the planned resumption of the second reading of the extradition bill. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) appealed to workers to join the protest; hundreds of businesses closed for the day and numerous workers went on strike. [54] Affiliate Hong Kong Cabin Crew Federation also called a strike. HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of East Asia closed some central branches; some of the banks and the Big Four accounting firms had agreed to flexible work arrangements for staff; Hong Kong Jockey Club shut down three of its central betting branches, citing employee safety. [55] [56] The Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union (HKPTU) called on its members to attend a protest rally after school hours on that day. Student unions of most of the major higher education institutions also called for student strike on 12 June; 50 social welfare and religious groups also took part in the strike. [57] The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong urged the Hong Kong government and the public to show restraint, and the administration "not to rush to amend the extradition bill before fully responding to the concerns of the legal sector and the public." [58]

A Facebook post calling on people to "enjoy a picnic" at the Tamar Park on 11 June attracted 2,000 people. In preparation for 12 June protest, the police force tightened the security in the Admiralty station and stopped commuters, mostly teenagers and searched their bags, resulting in some friction between the public and the police. [59]

Another call to "picnic" at the Tamar Park on 12 June attracted close to 10,000 responses. The Legislative Council Commission declared an amber security alert, the protest zone outside the building was closed and access to the complex was limited. Sit-ins began in the morning and large crowd built up at the MTR exit. Around 8 am, the crowd rushed onto Harcourt Road, blocking traffic. [60] Lung Wo Road and surrounding streets were also blocked by the protesters in a scene reminiscent of 2014 Occupy protests. A banner written "Majority calls on Carrie Lam to step down" and "Withdraw the extradition bill, defend One Country Two Systems" was hung from the Admiralty Centre footbridge. [61] [59] Around 11 am, the Legislative Council Secretariat announced that the second debate on the extradition bill had been postponed indefinitely. [61]

Violent clashes

Police vans carrying riot police began to line up adjacent to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, on standby, at around 1 pm. A source in the pro-Beijing camp said that some CCP legislators were at Central Police District Headquarters, while online groups called on protesters to block vehicles that might be used to transport the legislators to the Legislative Council. [61]

Protester occupy Harcourt Road 20190612.jpg
Xiang Gang 6-12Jing Min Da Chong Tu .jpg
Harcourt Road before (top) and after (bottom) police fired tear gas at the protesters. 12 June 2019

Around 3:20 pm, protesters on Tim Wa Avenue began to charge the police barricades and were doused with pepper spray in reply. Some protesters at the junction of Lung Wo Road and Tim Wa Avenue broke through the barricades and took over Tim Wa Avenue after riot police walked into the government headquarters, leaving a Special Tactical Unit to defend. Protesters also attempted to charge the Legislative Council building. Riot police dispersed the protesters by firing tear gas, beanbag rounds and rubber bullets. [61]

Police charged at protesters, pushing their line about 50 metres eastward on Harcourt Road. Protesters stood their ground on Harcourt Road and remained in a stand-off with the police on the road. [61] Many protesters took shelter in the buildings nearby as more tear gas was fired. The police cleared Harcourt Road and advanced on protesters. As of 6 pm, 22 injured people had been sent to public hospitals. Around 6:20 pm, the Legislative Council Secretariat issued a circular saying Legislative Council President Andrew Leung had called off the meeting. [61] Protesters remained in the streets outside the AIA Tower in Central, Queensway outside Pacific Place shopping mall, and at the junction of Arsenal Street and Hennessy Road in Wan Chai into the night. In Central, private cars were employed to block Connaught Road Central while protesters chanted slogans from the Exchange Square bridge. The number of protesters dwindled after midnight as roads gradually reopened.[ citation needed ] By the end of the day, at least 79 protesters and police officers had been treated in hospitals; [62] around 150 tear gas canisters, "several" rounds of rubber bullets, and 20 beanbag shots had been fired during the protest clearance. [63]

Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo declared the clashes a "riot" and condemned the protesters' behaviour. Speaking in Cantonese, Lo used the term for "disturbance", but a police spokesman later clarified he meant "riot". [64] [65] [7] Chief Executive Carrie Lam backed Lo, saying the protesters' "dangerous and life-threatening acts" had devolved into a "blatant, organised riot". [66]

Overnight, 2,000 protesters from religious groups held a vigil outside the government headquarters, singing hymns and praying. [67] Various trade unions, businesses and schools also vowed to stage protests. [68] The Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union called for a city-wide strike lasting a week. At least 4,000 Hong Kong teachers followed the call. [69]

Siege of CITIC Tower

CITIC Tower from Lung Wui Road. HK Queensway Citic Tower Lung Wui Road Blue Sky 1.JPG
CITIC Tower from Lung Wui Road.

According to the CHRF, the police had earlier agreed to peaceful demonstration within the area outside CITIC Tower in its letter of no objection. However, teargas was fired by police, to some criticism. [70] [71] Videos depicted the police firing tear gas on both sides of Lung Wui Road at around 4 pm as in a pincer movement near Citic Tower went viral on Hong Kong social media. People who were trying to push into the building to flee the gas, found the doors locked and themselves cornered by police. [70] [71]

As people trickled through the jammed central revolving door and a small side door, the police fired another two tear gas canisters into the trapped crowd fuelling panic. [72] Protesters attempted to break down another locked side door in a desperate attempt to rescue the beseiged crowd. Pro-democrat legislators criticised the police action which nearly caused a stampede. [73] Amnesty International also criticised the use of tear gas at the trapped crowd. [74]

Police brutality allegations

Many videos of aggressive police action appeared online: one showed tear gas canisters being fired at peaceful and unarmed protesters, first-aid volunteers, [75] and even reporters; another showed a protester apparently being hit in the face by a police projectile; another showed police firing multiple rounds of tear gas at hundreds of trapped protesters outside CITIC Tower. [76] [77] Additionally, The New York Times released a video essay that shows tear gas was deployed as an "offensive weapon" and that in several cases, unarmed protesters were beaten and dragged by police commanders. [78] On 21 June, Amnesty International published a report examining policing tactics by its team of experts who examined footage of 14 incidents. [74] Video showed apparent unlawful use of batons and rubber bullets, improper use of riot control agents, lack of visible police identification and restrictions on journalists and medics. [79] Amnesty concluded that the use of force by police against the largely peaceful protest was unnecessary and excessive and that police had "violated international human rights law and standards." [74]

Protesters complained about the lack of identifying numbers on the uniforms of the Special Tactical Squad (STS), who were accused of police brutality. Although Secretary Lee claimed there was no space on the new uniforms to display their numbers, it is an operational requirement. [80] The numbers appeared to have been removed since 12 June, when police officers began wearing newly designed uniforms that omitted the numbers. Former uniform designs included numbers, as photos from the South China Morning Post have shown during the 2014 Occupy protests, the 2016 Mong Kok civil unrest, and the recent 9 June clashes. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the police said personal information of more than 400 officers, and about 100 of their family members, had been posted online to their chagrin. [81]

Chief Executive Lam and Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo repeatedly sidestepped questions over police violence and the protesters' demand for an independent inquiry into the policing of the 12 June protest, only replying that the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) and the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) – both of which are internal institutions – would look into the complaints. [82]

Assaults on journalists

At a police press conference, reporters wore safety hats and gas masks in protest of police brutality against front line press. 13 June 2019 Press conference for Hong Kong Police Force 20190613.png
At a police press conference, reporters wore safety hats and gas masks in protest of police brutality against front line press. 13 June 2019

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) accused the police of "trampl[ing] on reporters" and ignoring their safety. They complained that the police had unreasonably interfered with newsgathering by shining flashlights directly at them to disperse them. A driver for public broadcaster RTHK was hit by a tear gas round and was sent to hospital after he suffered a cardiac arrest. [83] The HKJA also said members complained that some police officers had been verbally insulting and abusive, [84] including the use of profanity at a member of the press. [85] Another online video showed riot police firing tear gas rounds directly at a journalist. [86] The HKJA filed a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) claiming police had caused bodily harm to 26 journalists during the protests. [87] At a police press conference on 13 June, many reporters wore high-visibility vests, helmets and gas masks in protest. [88]

Hospital arrests

At least four protesters were arrested at hospitals while receiving treatment following clashes with police earlier that day. This raised concerns over the confidentiality of the patients. On 17 June, Legislative Councillor for the Medical constituency Pierre Chan presented a partial list that disclosed the information of 76 patients who were treated in the emergency ward of a public hospital on 12 and 13 June with a note on the top-left corner of the document read "For police". Chan said such a list could be obtained through the clinical data system in some hospitals without requiring a login and accused the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA) for leaking patients' data to the police. The HKHA denied the accusation, stressing that it had never authorised anyone to print the patients' data for police officers. [89]

The Hong Kong Adventist Hospital in Tsuen Wan also reportedly refused to treat an injured protester and advised the person to go to Yan Chai Hospital before reporting him to the police. The private hospital told media that its protocol prohibits it from handling cases related to "criminal activities", adding that patients involved in such cases are referred to a public hospital. [90]

Tensions grew between the medical profession and the police force with both parties accused of verbal harassment and abuse. The police force later withdrew from posts at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Yan Chai Hospital. [91] [92]

14 June mothers' sit-in

Following an interview of Carrie Lam on TVB in the morning of 12 June in which she lamented that as a mother, she would not have tolerated her children's violent protests, a group of women barristers and scholars from Chinese University launched an online petition stating that "the people of Hong Kong are not your children" and admonished her for attacking their children with tear gas, rubber bullets or bag bombs." [93] [94] Some 6,000 people participated in a three-hour sit-in at Chater Garden in Central on the evening of 14 June. The protesters dressed in black and holding carnations, called on Carrie Lam to step down and for the government to retract the bill. They also held up placards condemning police brutality, such as "don't shoot our kids." [95] The organisers also said they had collected more than 44,000 signatures in a petition condemning the views Lam expressed in the interview. [96]

16 June march

On 15 June, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a pause in the passage of the extradition bill after the Legislative Council meetings had been postponed for four working days in a row. [23] The pro-democracy camp feared it was merely a tactical retreat and demanded a full withdrawal of the bill and said they would go ahead with the 16 June rally as planned. Jimmy Sham, convenor of the CHRF, said the suspension could be a trap. [97] [98] They also called for Lam's resignation, apology for "disproportionally violent" police tactics towards peaceful protesters, the release of arrested protesters, and to withdraw the official characterisation of the protest on 12 June as "riot". [99]

Aerial view of the protesting crowd in Causeway Bay on 16 June. Aerial view of the protesting crowd in Causeway Bay.jpg
Aerial view of the protesting crowd in Causeway Bay on 16 June.

The march started ahead of time, at 2:30 pm on 16 June, from Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, to the Legislative Council in Admiralty – an approximately 3-kilometre-long (1.9 mi) route. Slogan-chanting protesters were predominantly dressed in black, some wearing white ribbons on their chests in anger at police brutality during the 12 June crackdown. [100] Many protesters started their march from North Point as the police ordered the MTR not to stop at Tin Hau and Causeway Bay during the march. [101] Nearby train stations were swamped with hundreds of thousands pouring into the protest zone; those from the Kowloon side trying to join the protest had to wait up to an hour at a time to board cross-harbour Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui. The size of the crowd forced police to open all the six lanes of Hennessy Road; the masses then also spilled over onto Lockhart Road and Jaffe Road – all three being parallel streets and major thoroughfares in Wan Chai. [102]

Protesters making way for an ambulance on Queensway at night. 190616 HK Protest Incendo 17.jpg
Protesters making way for an ambulance on Queensway at night.

The procession from Causeway Bay to Admiralty lasted from 3 pm to 11 pm. Marchers left bouquets and slogans on the site in front of Pacific Place where a man had committed suicide on 15 June. At night, protesters blocked Harcourt Road, causing traffic to grind to a halt. Protesters, however, allowed trapped vehicles – mainly franchised buses and emergency vehicles – to pass. [101]

The CHRF claimed the final turnout at "almost 2 million plus 1 citizens", which set the record of the largest protest in Hong Kong history. [103] [104] [105] [106] [107] The police said that there were 338,000 marchers on the original route at its peak. [25] Early in the afternoon, Radio France Internationale reported that Stand News, an independent online news agency, had used big data to predict that at most 1.44 million would have participated in the protest. [108]

At 8:30 pm, the government issued a statement in which Carrie Lam apologised to Hong Kong residents and promised to "sincerely and humbly accept all criticism and to improve and serve the public." [25]

21 and 24 June police HQ sieges

A loose association of university-based protest groups, officially known as the Student's Unions of Higher Institutions, reiterated its four main as-yet unaddressed demands after not receiving any official response from the government. Further protests were called on 21 June.

At around 11 am, protesters gathered outside government headquarters and quickly blocked the traffic on Harcourt Road. Some of the protesters also marched to Hong Kong Police Headquarters in Wan Chai as Demosistō activist Joshua Wong, who was released from prison only a few days earlier after serving a sentence for his actions in the 2014 protests, urged the crowd to surround the complex. [109] Dozens of protesters also staged a sit-in at the Revenue Tower and Immigration Tower nearby. [110] Another round of blockade occurred three days later, on 24 June. [111] On 26 June, protesters returned to the Revenue Tower to apologise to civil servants for the earlier disruption. [112]

By the evening of 21 June, a siege had developed at the Police Headquarters as thousands of protesters amassed in Arsenal Street. [110] South China Morning Post reported that protesters had "blocked the police headquarters' exits, threw eggs at the compound, drew graffiti on the walls, covered closed-circuit television cameras with tape, splashed oil on officers and targeted laser beams at police officers' eyes". [113] The police took no action to disperse the protesters. The police sought medical attention for some staff members and had made a total of five ambulance calls by 9:33 pm. After the ambulance's arrival, the medics waited for tens of minutes in front of the gate of the police headquarter for the police to unlock it. [114] The siege ended peacefully at 2:40 am as most of the protesters had left. Staff members and officers trapped inside the building evacuated via a back entrance to board waiting for coaches. [113] The police blamed the protesters for the delayed treatment, though Hong Kong Fire Services Department stated that the protesters did not obstruct any rescue effort by the paramedics. [115]

26 and 28 June G20 summit rallies

Protests occurred outside 19 foreign consulates in Hong Kong. Around 1,500 protesters during the day visited the consulates of countries expected to attend the G20 Osaka summit, handing out petitions to raise awareness of the movement in hopes of putting pressure on China. [116] Meanwhile, there were solidarity protests in Osaka, Japan during the G20 Summit. [117] [118] China said it would not tolerate any discussion at the forum because "Hong Kong matters are purely an internal affair to China [in which] no foreign country has a right to interfere." [119]

In the evening, thousands gathered for a rally outside the City Hall, shouting slogans of freedom and democracy. The protests stretched to the International Finance Centre, and spilled over into Lung Wo Road, blocking westbound traffic during the evening rush hour. [120] [121] Thousands of protesters then assembled at Edinburgh Place at night, holding signs that read "Democracy now" and "Free Hong Kong." [122] At the same time, around 1,000 protesters surrounded the Wan Chai police headquarters for six hours. [123]

On 28 June, some of the G20 demonstrations also protested against the Hong Kong government's prospective surrender of a strip of land in Central Harbourfront to the People's Liberation Army on 29 June. In light of the protests on 27 June, Au Nok-hin's resolutions and Eddie Chu's proposal to delay the surrendering date were halted as pro-Beijing legislator Christopher Cheung requested an adjournment for debate to shift attention on restoring peace in Hong Kong. [124] Chu and protesters entered the pier at around 11:30 pm. Protesters left the pier at midnight when its jurisdiction was legally turned over to PLA, though a standoff between the protesters and the police continued till 1 am. [125]

1 July protests

Annual pro-democracy march

The annual 1 July march at the Jardine's Bazaar shopping district. 190701 HK Protest Incendo 14.jpg
The annual 1 July march at the Jardine's Bazaar shopping district.

As the city marked the 22nd anniversary of its 1997 handover to China, the annual pro-democracy protest march organised by CHRF claimed a record turnout of 550,000 while police placed the estimate around 190,000; [126] [127] independent organisations using scientific methods calculated that participation was in the region of 250,000 people. [128] [129]

At the annual flag-raising ceremony in the morning outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, police used pepper spray and batons to suppress the disruption by protesters. [130] Before the march, youths had begun besieging the Legislative Council building. Due to the storming of the Legislative Council, the destination of the march was diverted to Chater Road in Central. [131]

Storming of Legco

Hong Kong flag with black background - the Black Bauhinia - used by some protesters. Flag of Hong Kong 2019 protests.svg
Hong Kong flag with black background – the Black Bauhinia – used by some protesters.

At around 9 pm local time, hundreds of protesters stormed the legislature after breaking through the glass walls and metal doors of the building. [132] Protesters damaged portraits of former pro-Beijing presidents of the Legislative Council, spray-painted slogans such as "It was you who taught me peaceful marches did not work," [133] [134] smashed furniture, defaced the Hong Kong emblem, waved the Union Flag and displayed the colonial Hong Kong flag on the podium. [135] [136] At the same time, protesters hung up signs and installed barricades, warning others to protect cultural objects and to do no damage to books in the library while protesting. [137] The police started using tear gas to disperse protesters around the LegCo at 12:05 am and reached the building 15 minutes later. [138]

Protesters blamed the occupation and acts of property damage to be the result of Carrie Lam's "lack of positive response to the public." [139] It was also reported that the deaths from the suicide events also sparked anger and desperation among the protesters, which also contributes to the protest on 1 July. [140]

Carrie Lam held a press conference at 4 am stating that she acknowledged the peaceful and orderly march, but condemned strongly the "violence and vandalism by protesters who stormed into the Legislative Council building". [141] However, Lam dodged questions regarding recent deaths and the government left the unanswered questions out of the official transcript, an act criticised by the Hong Kong Journalists Association for hindering public's right to know. Information Services Department responded that the transcript released was not a "verbatim". [142]

By early 5 July, there had been at least 66 arrests and first formal charges laid in connection with the incident. [143]

After the protest, demonstrators and legislators condemned the Hong Kong police for deliberately allowing protesters to ram the glass doors and windows of the LegCo in front of cameras and television crews for hours, without any arrests or clearance. A journalist with The New York Times remarked on the "notable [and] ominous" absence of the police and questioned the lack of action to prevent the legislature from being stormed, asserting that the police force "no longer sees its purpose as maintaining public order and is, instead, carrying out the government’s political agenda." [144] The police explained that their decision to retreat was after "considering a number of factors." [145] However, opponents have asserted it was to manipulate public opinion and blame protesters in an attempt to seize the moral high ground. [146] [147]

Admiralty Declaration

From within the occupied Legislative Council governing chambers, a new manifesto with ten points was presented, [148] [149] calling for greater freedom and democracy, and independence from the political influences of Beijing. [150] Brian Leung Kai-ping, the 25-year-old student activist who presented this declaration, said afterward: "As police were drawing closer and closer, after some deliberation, most decided to end the siege. I volunteered to be in front of the camera to read out the key demands of protesters in the chamber. The last thing I wished to see ... was to have no clear demands put on the table." [151] Risking arrest, he removed his mask to make the address, saying later that "Hongkongers have nothing left to lose. Hongkongers cannot [afford to] lose any more." [152]

5 July mothers' sit-in

On Friday evening, a second mother's rally occurred at Chater Garden in Central. According to organisers, about 8,000 were in attendance, while police cited 1300 in attendance [153] [154] The gathering of mothers and allies shared solidarity with young protestors and condemned the government for being indifferent to Hong Kong people's demands. [155] One mother vowed, "If they don't release the young people, we will keep standing out." [156]

7 July Tsim Sha Tsui march

Daytime rally

Tens of thousands of protesters in Nathan Road on 7 July. 190707 HK Protest Incendo 01.jpg
Tens of thousands of protesters in Nathan Road on 7 July.

The first anti-extradition bill protest in the Kowloon side of Hong Kong was held on 7 July in Tsim Sha Tsui. Before the march, organisers had promised that it would be a peaceful rally. [157]

The rally started from Salisbury Garden at 3:30 pm, heading to the West Kowloon MTR station. The march ended at around 7 pm. The march was then officially called to an end at 7:30 pm. The organiser claimed more than 230,000 marchers, while police estimated around 56,000 only. [158]

Protesters arriving at the destination of the march, the West Kowloon station. 190707 HK Protest Incendo 17.jpg
Protesters arriving at the destination of the march, the West Kowloon station.

Protesters marched along Nathan Road and Canton Road, which mainland tourists frequent because of the presence of a long string of luxury stores. The protest was aimed at giving a good impression to these visitors, hoping to raise their awareness of the issues and support for their cause. Hard copy booklets about the extradition bill in Simplified Chinese were distributed to mainland tourists, to bypass mainland web censorship. [159] About 200 protestors assembled near the ferry terminal by the China Hong Kong City Centre, chanting in Mandarin and urging the shoppers to join the demonstration. [160]

As a precaution, water barricades had been also set up by the police, with checkpoints to confirm the passengers' identities; the MTR Corporation had stopped selling tickets for journeys during noon-time. Protesters and residents condemned the action, complaining it unnecessary and unreasonable. This is the largest protest in Hong Kong solely mobilised by netizens and in Kowloon area so far. [161]

Night-time clashes

After the end of the march at 7:30 pm, around 300 protesters left the station and headed to Canton Road again. They proceeded up Nathan Road and arrived at Mong Kok to find police amassed on Shantung Street, where there was a stand-off for around 20 minutes. [162] Riot police, most of them refusing to display an identification number or warrant card [163] [164] arrived, assaulting protestors and journalists alike. [165] [166] [167] [168] By the end of the night, at least six arrests were made. [169] [170] The following day, lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting requested an independent investigation of police conduct, called for a review of video that may show the use of excessive force, and stated that failure to have warrant cards visibly displayed may be a violation of the law. [164]

10 July Subsequent protests

On 10 July, two rival protests were held outside Wan Chai Police Headquarters. Around a dozen protesters from the pro-democracy Labour Party, called the police to launch a criminal investigation, they presented five pieces of video footage as evidence, purportedly showing officers hitting or kicking demonstrators even after they were pinned down. However, the Labour Party protesters were referred to the force's internal investigation unit – the Complaints Against Police Office. Around a dozen protesters from the pro-establishment Anti-black money, anti-Hong Kong independence concern group filed a police report claiming that pro-democracy lawmakers: Jeremy Tam, Au Nok-hin and Roy Kwong were involved in the violent night clashes. [171]

10 July Yau Tong's Lennon Wall tension

On 10 July, a few youngsters constructed a makeshift Lennon Wall on a pillar outside the Yau Tong MTR exit. They were soon surrounded and intimidated by tens of mostly middle-aged pro-government residents who were suspected of being off-duty policemen from nearby Yau Mei Court, which contains a "disciplined staff quarters" for police. [172]

The crowds built up at night, growing into the hundreds. [173] Numerous scuffles then broke out between a hundred pro-government residents and a much larger crowd protecting the youngsters. [174] Hundreds of police arrived and formed a defence line on the staircase leading from the MTR exit. [175] They were accused of not stopping the violence of the pro-government residents against the youngsters. The conflict persisted for hours and did not subside until 1 a.m. on 11 July. At least three arrests were made, [174] including two retired police officers for common assault. [176]

14 July Sha Tin march

Tens of thousands marched in Sha Tin near New Town Plaza on 14 July. 190714 HK Protest Incendo 29.jpg
Tens of thousands marched in Sha Tin near New Town Plaza on 14 July.

Daytime rally

In the afternoon, the first anti-extradition bill protest in the New Territories side of Hong Kong was held on 14 July in Sha Tin. The rally started from Chui Tin Street Soccer Pitch near Che Kung Miu at 3:10 pm, passing Hong Kong Heritage Museum, heading to the Sha Tin station Bus Terminus. Protesters chanted "all five demands must be fulfilled" and "Hong Kong police break laws." The first batch of protesters arrived at the destination at around 4:45 pm, and the march ended officially at 7:15 pm. The organiser claimed more than 115,000 marchers, while police estimated around 28,000. [177]

Evening clashes

Stand-off between protesters and police near Sha Tin Jockey Club Swimming Pool. Night of 14 July. 190714 HK Protest Incendo 02.jpg
Stand-off between protesters and police near Sha Tin Jockey Club Swimming Pool. Night of 14 July.

After the march, protesters moved to the streets near Sha Tin Jockey Club Swimming Pool. They set up barricades and threw objects including traffic cones and bottles at police at about 5 pm. Shortly afterwards, around 20 officers moved towards them while pepper-spraying them. During the stand-off, residents near the streets tossed down necessities, including water bottles, umbrellas and cling wrap, to support the protesters. [178] At 6 pm, dozens of officers moved closer to the protesters but kept a distance, while warning the crowd to leave with a loudspeaker. [179] Tension rose when a police officer attempted to remove the mask worn by a protester without showing his warrant card. [180]

As the authorisation according to the Letter of No Objection had expired, protesters moved to the nearby shopping mall, New Town Plaza. [181] At 8:55 pm, police warned the crowd that those who did not leave they would face arrest. Ten minutes later, police raised the red warning flag. At 10 pm, police started using pepper spray on some protesters in the plaza. [178]

While protesters were trying to leave via MTR, riot police blocked the entrance of the train station from inside the mall. Meanwhile, another group of riot police followed behind protesters as they proceeded to the station engaging in a tactic called "kettling – thereby unnecessarily trapping demonstrators" – which sparked reactions from cornered protesters. At the same time, MTR Corporation announced that trains would bypass Sha Tin station. Both protesters and bystanders were trapped inside the plaza until the police started letting people enter the railway station later that night. [182] Fearing that other protesters would not being able to leave, some individuals stopped the train's doors from closing to ensure that all protesters could evacuate. [183] After some chaos, at around 11 pm, MTR announced that the service would gradually resume. Protesters then started to leave via MTR and the police started to disperse. [179]

Lawmaker Jeremy Tam questioned the need for the police to block the entrance to the train station and bring about conflict which could have been avoided. [184] Pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin, who was there that night, also asked why demonstrators were given no pathway to leave, and called the policing tactics "rubbish." [185] Pro-Beijing lawmakers, on the other hand, claimed demonstrators were perpetrating "organised violent acts" and stated that "no one should insult the police [or] damage their morale." [185] Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated that police "exercised restraint when they were being attacked by those whom I describe as 'rioters'." [186] By the end of the night, at least 22 people had been hospitalised, several in critical and serious condition; and at least 40 arrests had been made. [187]

15 and 16 July accountability protests

Following the Sunday night clashes with police at New Town Plaza, on Monday evening about 100 demonstrators and local residents gathered at the mall to petition property owners about their responsibility and participation in the previous night's events. Activists surrounded the customer service desk to demand answers from Sun Hung Kai Properties. On Tuesday, several hundred people turned up again and demanded answers, accusing property owners of assisting police in the raid that led to numerous hospitalisations and arrests. Protesters chanted "shame on Sun Hung Kai for selling out Hongkongers"; many also walked through the mall and created Lennon Walls with post-it note messages containing their grievances. [188] In a Facebook post, mall management denied involvement, saying they had not invited police onto the premises. [189] [190]

15 July hunger strikers march

On the evening of 15 July, a dozen hunger strikers (many of whom have been on strike for over 12 days), along with 2,400 protesters marched from Admiralty Centre to the Chief Executive's official residence – Government House. They called for the protesters' five demands to be answered and requested dialogue with Carrie Lam. While waiting for an audience with Lam, demonstrators created a post-it note Lennon Wall along the Government House complex walls. After waiting for over an hour, democracy activists left by about 11 pm, and marched back to Admiralty Centre. Carrie Lam did not make an appearance. [191]

17 July elderly march

A group of seniors marched from Chater Garden to the Central Government Complex on 17 July. Organisers estimated that 9,000 had participated, while police put the figure as 1,500. [192] During the "silver-hair" rally organised by Chu Yiu-ming, participants showed their support for the frontline youths. [193] They reiterated the five key demands of the democracy movement and hoped the march would clear the stereotype that all senior citizens held pro-establishment views. Reverend Chu Yiu-ming called on Carrie Lam to "repent" and urged compassion, asking her to stop dividing society by criminalising young protesters. [194] Demonstrators carried massive banners, and upon reaching government buildings wrote demands onto yellow ribbons and tied them to a metal fence. [195] Actress Deanie Ip also attended, holding a banner that said "Support youth to protect Hong Kong." [196]

21 July march

The CHRF announced that the police had approved a march on Sunday, 21 July, from Admiralty to the Court of Final Appeal, [197] despite earlier requests by the police to delay the march till August. [198] The police, fearing the risk of increased violence, stipulated in its letter of no objection that the march would avoid Admiralty and end at Luard Road in Wan Chai, and must end no later than midnight on the basis of public safety and public order—conditions more stringent than those placed on previous marches. Many protestors will continue its rally into Admiralty and Central regardless of the circumstance due to the fact the police are being inconsiderate with the crowd, not taking notice of the Book fair in Wan Chai North. [199] [200] The CHRF appealed the ruling to the Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions but is expected to continue its rally all the way to Chater Road, Central. [199]

Worldwide solidarity protests

On 9 June, at least 29 rallies were held in 12 countries with protesters taking to the streets in cities around the world with significant Hong Kong diaspora, including about 4,000 in London, about 3,000 in Sydney and further rallies in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Toronto, Vancouver, Berlin, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Taipei. [201] [202] In one of the biggest overseas protests, hundreds of demonstrators made of mostly Hong Kong immigrants filled the streets outside the Chinese consulate-general in Vancouver with yellow umbrellas, referencing the 2014 Occupy protests, and chanted against the extradition law. More than 60 people gathered outside the White House in Washington to protest against the bill. [202]

On 12 June, representatives from 24 Taiwanese civic groups, including Taiwan Association for Human Rights, protested outside Hong Kong's representative office in Taipei, whilst shouting slogans such as "Taiwan supports Hong Kong". In Kaohsiung, around 150 Hong Kong students staged a sit-in protest demanding the Hong Kong government to withdraw the bill. [203] In Adelaide, 150 people protested against the extradition law. [204]

On 16 June, 10,000 Hong Kong students and Taiwanese supporters held a peaceful sit-in at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to support the protests in Hong Kong. [205] [206] In Auckland and Adelaide, around 500 people gathered to demand Chief Executive Lam to withdraw the bill and apologise for her actions. [207] On 17 June, 1,500 people protested outside the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver. [208]

On 23 June, 5000 people held a rally in Taipei against Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill. [209]

On 14 July a "Sing for Hong Kong" event was held in London. [210] [211]

Suicides

A protester on scaffolding at Pacific Place before he fell to his death on 15 June. Man protesting Hong Kong's extradition law in Pacific Place 20190615.png
A protester on scaffolding at Pacific Place before he fell to his death on 15 June.
Gathering for Lo Hiu-yan at The Education University of Hong Kong on 30 June 2019 Memorial for Lo Hiu-yan in EDUHK 20190630.jpg
Gathering for Lo Hiu-yan at The Education University of Hong Kong on 30 June 2019
A straw man in yellow raincoat resembling that worn by the first protester who jumped to his death from Pacific Place is still hung over the railing outside the suicide scene in honour of him. Straw Man in Yellow Raincoat.jpg
A straw man in yellow raincoat resembling that worn by the first protester who jumped to his death from Pacific Place is still hung over the railing outside the suicide scene in honour of him.

Four deaths by suicide occurred during the anti-extradition bill protests. All had left suicide notes decrying the unelected and unresponsive government and the government's insistence on forcing through the extradition bill; they expressed despondency whilst urging Hongkongers to continue their fight. [212] [213] [214] One even stated "What Hong Kong needs is a revolution." [215] [216]

The first person committed suicide on 15 June, when 35-year-old Marco Leung Ling-kit climbed the elevated podium on the rooftop of Pacific Place, a shopping mall in Admiralty at 4:30 pm. [212] Wearing a yellow raincoat with the words "Brutal police are cold-blooded" and "Carrie Lam is killing Hong Kong" in Chinese written on the back, he hung a banner on the scaffolding with several anti-extradition slogans. [217] After a five-hour standoff, during which police officers and Democratic Party legislator Kwong Chun-yu attempted to talk him down, Leung fell to his death on the pavement below, missing an inflatable cushion set up by firefighters. [212] [218] [219]

A shrine appeared at the scene soon afterward. Organisers asked participants to wear black and bring white flowers to commemorate the deceased for the 16 June march; Ai Weiwei shared the news on his Instagram feed, while Chinese satirist Badiucao honoured the dead man with a cartoon. [219] On Thursday 11 July another vigil was held, in which thousands turned up leaving sunflowers at the memorial site. [220] Artists in Prague have also honoured the event, and painted a memorial on the Lennon Wall in the Czech Republic, depicting a yellow raincoat along with words of well wishes. [221]

Lo Hiu-yan, a 21-year-old Education University of Hong Kong student, committed suicide 29 June and jumped from the Ka Fuk Housing Estate in Fanling. [222] [223] She left two notes written on a stairwell wall with red marker, urging the movement to press on, and uploaded photos of her note to Instagram. [5] [213] [224] A memorial was held the following Friday at the site of her death in Fanling. [225] [226] [227]

On 30 June a third democracy activist died, when 29-year-old notary office clerk Zita Wu jumped from the International Financial Centre. [228] [214] She left a final note on Facebook hoping for victory. [214] On Saturday night, 6 July there was a memorial event held for Ms. Wu at Edinburgh Place in Central. [229] [230] Thousands were in attendance, honouring her life with offerings of flowers and candles. [231]

On 4 July, a 28-year-old female with the family name of Mak committed suicide by jumping off a building in Cheung Sha Wan. [232] Her suicide note urged a revolution. [215] [233] [234] [216] Ms. Mak's memorial service was held on the evening of 10 July at Edinburgh Place. [235] [236] [237]

Methods

Decentralised leadership

Unlike the 2014 Hong Kong protests, the protesters of 2019 have formed a generally decentralised movement, but are nonetheless "impeccably organised", as described by the Los Angeles Times. [238] The CHRF has a long history of organising social movements and was the organiser of the two massive protests on 9 and 16 June. Demosistō led by Joshua Wong and the localist groups called on supporters to participate in marches, rallies and other forms of direct action. Yet, none of these groups have claimed leadership over the movement. Many pro-democracy legislators were present at the protests, but they largely played supporting roles. The logistics of the movement – bringing supplies, setting up medical stations, rapid mass communication – were the result of experience from previous protests. [238] This decentralisation has led to more fluidity but has also made it difficult for officials to locate representatives for negotiations. [239]

On 1 July, after the protesters had forced their way into the Legislative Council, Wong said the act was intended "to show how the Legislative Council has never represented the voice of the people." He also said there would not have been any rallies or protests had the Hong Kong Legislative Council been democratically elected. [240]

Flexible and diverse tactics

Protesters are reported to have adopted Bruce Lee’s philosophy, to be "formless [and] shapeless, like water." [241] By flowing dynamically to different government offices during the 21 June protests, they aimed to bring additional pressure to bear on the government. [239] [242]

The "Do Not Split" (不割席) principle has helped maintain cohesion throughout the broad political spectrum of the struggle. [243] Embracing a diversity of tactics has allowed participants to engage in different levels of action while respecting the roles that others play. Hong Kong political commentator Lewis Lau said, " 'Do Not Split' serves as a bridge ... by promoting mutual respect for diverging views within the protest movement." [243] Minimisation of internal conflict is key to achieving broader goals; a common phrase that has served as a reminder is "Preserve yourself and the collective; no division." [244] Protesters also developed a set of hand signs to aid communications. [245]

Solidarity between protestors and engagement with the "Do Not Split" praxis was evidenced by the two mothers' sit-in demonstrations of 14 June and 5 July and the silver-haired protest on July 17. [246] Tens of thousands attended the rallies, in support of the protest actions of the younger generation, while standing firm together in opposition to police brutality, Carrie Lam, and the undemocratic interventionism of the mainland Chinese government. [95] [153] [155]

Online activism

Protesters also took to the Internet to exchange information and ideas. Netizens used the popular online forum LIHKG to gain traction for protests. These included disrupting MTR services, gathering for vigils, organising "picnics" (a term used to deflect surveillance), and making anti-extradition bill memes that appeal to conservative values so that Hong Kong elderly would better understand the anti-extradition rationale. [238]

Lulu Yilun Chen of Bloomberg News stated that protesters used Telegram, an encrypted messaging app, to communicate in order to conceal identities and prevent tracking by the Chinese government and Hong Kong Police Force. [247] The app's servers were under denial-of-service attacks on 12 June. The app's founder Pavel Durov identified the origin of the attack as China, [248] [249] [250] and stated that it "coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong." [251]

Some have accused protesters of "doxxing" members of the police force. Police claimed to have found a website run by the hacktivist group Anonymous that disclosed personal data of more than 600 officers. [252] Legal scholar Professor Richard Cullen stated that he had never seen that degree of cyberbullying against the police before. [253] In early July, the police arrested eight individuals in connection to the alleged doxxing. [254] [255]

Christian hymn

A group of Christians singing "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" near the Central Government Complex. Xiang Gang Rou Xing Li Liang Chu Dong 01.jpg
A group of Christians singing "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" near the Central Government Complex.

A 1974 Christian hymn called "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" has become the "unofficial anthem" of the anti-extradition protests as it was heard everywhere at the protest sites. On 11 June, a group of Christians began to sing the four-line-verse simple melody at the Central Government Complex as they held a public prayer meeting through the night before the Legislative Council was as scheduled to begin the second reading the following day. On the morning of 12 June the Christians, led by pastors, stood between the crowd and police to help prevent violence and pray for Hong Kong with the hymn. [256] Under Hong Kong's Public Order Ordinance, religious gatherings are exempt from the definition of a "gathering" or "assembly" therefore more difficult to police. [257] [258] The song was sung repeatedly over 10 hours throughout the night and a video of the event quickly became viral online. [256] Hong Kong local ministries, many of whom support underground churches in China, supported the protests. Most Hong Kong churches tend to shy away from political involvement, however many are worried about the effects of the extradition bill on Christians since mainland China does not have religious freedom laws. [259] [260]

Petition campaigns

A petition to revoke the U.S. citizenship and visas of the Hong Kong and China officials who support the extradition bill. We the People HK Extradition Petition screenshot.png
A petition to revoke the U.S. citizenship and visas of the Hong Kong and China officials who support the extradition bill.

From May 2019 onwards, multiple petitions against the Bill from over 200 secondary schools, various industries, professions, and neighbourhoods were created. [261] More than 167,000 students, alumni and teachers from all public universities and one in seven secondary schools in Hong Kong, including St. Francis' Canossian College which Carrie Lam attended, also launched online petitions against the extradition bill in a snowballing campaign. [262] St. Mary's Canossian College and Wah Yan College, Kowloon, which Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng and Secretary for Security John Lee attended, respectively, also joined the campaign. [262] Even the alumni, students and teachers at St. Stephen's College, which the victim in the Taiwan homicide case Poon Hiu-wing attended from Form 1 to Form 3, were unconvinced as they accused the government of using her case as a pretext to force the bill's passage. [263]

There are also various online petitions including We the People and Change.org. Generally, the petitions request governments in Western countries to respond to the extradition bill and hold the officials who pushed the bill forward accountable and reprehensible by the means of sanctioning and through revoking their citizenship. One petition urged the French government to strip Carrie Lam of her Legion of Honour award. [264]

Advertising campaign

Anti-extradition bill advertisement placed on page A7 of The New York Times on 28 June 2019. 190628 New York Times, HK anti-bill advert.jpg
Anti-extradition bill advertisement placed on page A7 of The New York Times on 28 June 2019.

In June, protesters launched an online crowdfunding campaign to place open letters as full-page ads in major international newspapers before the 28 June G20 summit in Osaka, Japan to raise global awareness and appeal for world leaders' intervention on the bill, urging everyone to "ally with [them]" and to "[demand] the preservation of Hong Kong's freedom and autonomy under the Chinese government." [265] The goal to raise HK$3 million was accomplished in less than four hours, and successfully raised HK$5.45 million in less than six hours. [266] The open letter was published by popular international newspapers including The New York Times , The Guardian , Japan Times , The Globe and Mail , Süddeutsche Zeitung , The Chosun Ilbo , Le Monde and the online version of Politico Europe . [267] [268] The advertisements were printed in the local languages of the readership for each periodical, and while graphic design and layout varies, most included the slogan and appeal to "Stand with Hong Kong at G20" along with the open letter. [269]

AirDrop broadcast

In June and July, protesters in Hong Kong have been using Apple devices' short-range file transfer service AirDrop to broadcast anti-extradition bill information to people inside MTR trains, allowing recipients to read about concerns regarding the proposed law, aiming to raise awareness among the residents in Hong Kong. [270] [271]

During the 7 July protest in Tsim Sha Tsui, a major tourist district, protesters again used AirDrop to share information regarding protests and concerns about the bill with tourists from mainland China. [272] Some shared QR codes that looked like "free money" from Alipay and WeChat Pay, but actually redirected to information–written in Simplified Chinese–about the on-going democratic movement. [273] [274] Because AirDrop creates a direct link between local devices, the technology bypasses mainland China's censorship efforts [274] [275] that have distorted and limited information about extradition bill protests. [276] [277]

Neighbourhood Lennon Walls

A tunnel near the Tai Po Market MTR station, dubbed as the "Lennon Tunnel." Tai Po Market Station underground tunnel Lennon Wall 20190709.jpg
A tunnel near the Tai Po Market MTR station, dubbed as the "Lennon Tunnel."

The original Lennon Wall has been once again set up in front of the Hong Kong Central Government Offices staircase. During the months of June and July, Lennon Walls covered with colourful post-it note messages for freedom and democracy have "blossomed everywhere" (遍地開花) [278] and appeared throughout the entire Hong Kong. [279] [280] [281] According to a crowd-sourced map of Hong Kong, there are over 140 Lennon Walls throughout the region. [282]

At several Lennon Walls, protesters taped photos of Lam and other officials on the wall and let other citizens slap the photos with a pair of slippers in a manner similar to "petty person beating", a local custom. [283] Lennon Walls led to conflicts between pro-democratic and pro-Beijing citizens , some of whom attempted to tear the messages off from the walls and physically assaulted the pro-democratic protesters. [284] [173] Police also removed post-it notes containing officer's personal information from Tai Po, an act which caused the police to be mocked as the "king of tearing off paper" (撕紙皇). [285]

Lennon Walls have also appeared outside of Hong Kong in the cities of: Toronto, Vancouver BC, Tokyo, Berlin, London, Melbourne, Manchester, Sydney, and Taipei. [286] [287] [288] [289] Messages of solidarity for the Hong Kong democracy movement have also been added to the very first and oldest Lennon Wall in Prague. [289]

Lennon Wall outside of a Yoshinoya fast-food chain, Hong Kong. A protest against their advertisement decisions. 190714 HK Protest Incendo 03.jpg
Lennon Wall outside of a Yoshinoya fast-food chain, Hong Kong. A protest against their advertisement decisions.

Advertising boycotts

The Communications Authority received approximately 12,000 complaints criticising that TVB's coverage favoured the pro-establishment camp and the CCP. [290] There were accusations that TVB presented an overly simplified narrative with limited information, therefore avoiding more overt censorship methods. [291] In light of this, some businesses, including the Hong Kong branches of Pocari Sweat and Pizza Hut, withdrew their advertisements from TVB, delighting anti-extradition protestors but angering Mainland consumers. [292]

Japanese fast-food chain Yoshinoya Hong Kong faced accusations of victimising employees who were fighting the extradition bill and who would take time off to join the protests. After an advertisement satirising recent police brutality appeared on the company's Facebook page, the company said it had severed ties with their partnering marketing agency. [293]

Hunger strikers outside Admiralty Centre. 9 July 2019 Hunger strike outside Admiralty Centre 20190709 2.jpg
Hunger strikers outside Admiralty Centre. 9 July 2019

Hunger strikes

A group of protesters have been on hunger strike following the 1 July rally in Admiralty. Preacher Roy Chan initiated the action and has been joined by about 10 others, including Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung. They are camped near Harcourt Road in Admiralty, with many signs displayed to inform the public about their goals. At least five people have vowed to continue fasting until the extradition bill is officially withdrawn. [294] [295] [296]

Other movements

As the momentum of the anti-extradition protests continued to grow, several more protests movements focusing on local issues were held in different regions in Hong Kong.

Reclaim Tuen Mun

On 6 July, people marched in a protest organised by the Tuen Mun Park Sanitation Concern Group. The protest aimed at condemning mainland Chinese middle-aged women singers and dancers, also known by the nickname "dai ma" (大媽), and the elderly men who gave these women "donations" for the noise disturbance and annoyances they have caused in Tuen Mun Park. Conflicts between the police and the protesters brew as the police escorted a person who allegedly assaulted the marchers away while using pepper spray on the protesters. [26] The organiser claimed that nearly 10,000 people attended the protest. [297]

Reclaim Sheung Shui

A female AFP journalist injured during a protest in Sheung Shui on 13 July 2019. Female AFP journalist face-hit by HK police with baton.jpg
A female AFP journalist injured during a protest in Sheung Shui on 13 July 2019.

On 13 July, a protest was organised in Sheung Shui for opposing mainland Chinese parallel trading, with 30,000 attendees claimed by the organiser [298] . It was largely peaceful for the first two hours.

However, as it went on, the organiser and protesters refused to follow the authorised route, which had Sheung Shui Station as the destination. Instead, they marched on Sheung Shui Plaza, occupied some roads and started clashing with the police who accused them of unlawful assembly, triggering an hour-long standoff which lasted until late night. A handful of journalists were maliciously attacked by the police [299] [300] .

During the skirmishes, a number of dispensaries were vandalised by the protesters because they were thought to be complicit in the mainland Chinese parallel trading. After the riot police resumed traffic by dispersing the crowd, they chased the crowd onto a footbridge leading to Sheung Shui Station, when a handicapped teenager suddenly jumped off the footbridge for escape, but was rescued jointly by the journalists and police. He was eventually arrested, insulted and ushered into the police van [301] .

Reclaim HKU

On 13 July, about 300 students attended an on-campus protest to denounce Hong Kong University's president and vice-chancellor Zhang Xiang for his statement on 3 July condemning the "violent storming" of the Legislative Council building on 1 July, and to demand retraction of the statement. Zhang later met the students and agreed to create a forum of dialogue with students. [302]

Journalists' silent march

On 14 July, at 10:30 am, journalists and others in the media industry held a silent march from Harcourt Garden in Admiralty to Police Headquarters in Wan Chai; then on to the Chief Executive Office to protest against police attacks on the press. Journalists at the front of the march held a large banner that read "Stop Police Violence, Defend Press Freedom." They called on the Chief Executive to defend press freedom and enforce the Pledge to Uphold Press Freedom decree, which she signed in 2017. [303]

The rally was jointly organised by Hong Kong Journalists Association, Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, Independent Commentators Association, Journalism Educators for Press Freedom, as well as staff associations of Ming Pao , Next Media and RTHK. It was attended by approximately 1,500 people. [304]

Counter-demonstrations

On 9 June, more than a dozen ships carrying banners with slogans supporting the bill cruised Victoria Harbour. [305] Around 20 supporters from the Safeguard Hong Kong Alliance, a pro-Beijing activist group, also showed up at the government quarters to support the bill a few hours before the anti-extradition bill protest. [306]

On 16 June, around 40 protesters from the pro-Beijing Safeguard Hong Kong Alliance and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU) protested outside the U.S. Consulate General in Central, condemning the US for allegedly interfering in the extradition law. [307] Hundreds of Pro-Beijing supporters gathered in Chater Garden in Central under the banner "Support Hong Kong Police Force, Blessing to Hong Kong" on 22 June; pro-Beijing figures such as legislator Priscilla Leung and pro-police campaigner Leticia Lee fronted the rally. [308]

On 30 June, a more significant demonstration was organised by pro-Beijing legislator Junius Ho Kwan-yiu to show solidarity for the police and support for the extradition bill, taking place in front of the government headquarters in Tamar. Former police chief Tang King-shing and former deputy police commissioner Peter Yam Tat-wing took to the podium, as did artists such as Alan Tam and Tony Leung. [309] The organisers claimed that 165,000 people attended, while police cited 53,000. There were multiple confrontations as the pro-police supporters ran into small groups of anti-bill protesters wearing black, getting into arguments and scuffles with them as well with journalists covering the event. [309] The Lennon Wall in Admiralty was destroyed by the pro-police supporters [310] and pan-democratic Legislative Councilor Lam Cheuk-ting was physically assaulted. [311]

On 15 July, dozens of protesters from ten Pro-Beijing groups including the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) held a demonstration in support of the Police and condemned the protesters for violently attacking the police. [312] On 16 July, 20 members of a Hawker Association held a demonstration outside the Wan Chai Police Station, condemning the protests for the drop of 50-60% in their sales. They also thanked the police for their work and called for the authorities to uphold the rule of law. [313] On 17 July, 70 members from the DAB and Politihk Social Strategic including lawmakers Ann Chiang, Elizabeth Quat, Wilson Or and Junius Ho Kwan-yiu held demonstrations outside the Wan Chai Police Station to express their support for the police, urge them to rethink their operations when dealing with ongoing protests and called the government to ban protests until september. [312] [314] [315] On 18 July, around 30 supporters from the Pro-Beijing organisation of The Friends of Hong Kong Association, whose members include National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegates held a demonstration outside the Wan Chai police's headquarters to show their support. They also donated 10 million to the police welfare fund. [316] [317] On 19 July, 20 members from the pro-Beijing group, the Justice Alliance led by Leticia Lee held a demonstration out the Police Headquarters, where they delivered 10,000 juice boxes to the police and called on officers to "show no mercy" to protesters. [318] [319]

Chinese government and media

Allegations of foreign interference

Timelapse video of 16 June protests.

After the 9 June protest, the Beijing government blamed "outside interference" and voiced support for the Hong Kong administration. The Chinese Foreign Ministry accused opponents of the proposed extradition law of "collusion with the West." [320] State-run media such as China Daily cited more than 700,000 people backing the legislation through an online petition, "countering a protest by about 240,000 people." [306] [320] Meanwhile, Chinese tabloid Global Times dismissed the mass demonstration on 9 June, stating that "some international forces have significantly strengthened their interaction with the Hong Kong opposition in recent months." [321]

Censorship

The first two weeks of protests were largely ignored by central mainland media outlets, with no major stories published until 17 April. [322] The protests were mostly censored from Mainland Chinese social media, such as Sina Weibo. [323] Keyword searches of "Hong Kong", "HK" and "extradition bill" led to other official news and entertainment news. Accounts that posted content regarding the protest were also blocked. [324] By 14 June, censors were said to be working overtime to erase or block news of the protests on social media. "People are very curious and there is a lot of discussion on this event," according to a Weibo censor. [325] On Sina Weibo and WeChat, the term "let's go Hong Kong" was blocked with the platform citing "relevant laws, regulations and policies" as the reason for not showing search results. [326] However, Chinese social media users have circumvented the censors by rotating relevant pictures or even putting logos on them. [327]

International reactions

See also

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