Hong Kong Activist Walks Free, Calls On Pro-Beijing Leader To Resign

Defending democracy in Hong Kong

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China redoubled its support for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday after days of protests against a planned extradition bill, and a source close to Lam said Beijing was unlikely to let her go even if she tried to resign.

Mr Wong, 22, served almost five weeks of a two-month sentence for contempt related to his involvement in the 2014 protests, which advocated for more democratic elections.

Nearly every local paper splashed on the two million Hongkongers who took to the streets on Sunday not only to show that they are dissatisfied with the mere suspension of legislative work on the bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland - they want a complete withdrawal of the proposal - but also to reject her apology, which Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun described as "too little, too late", coming as it did through a government statement, and ask her to step down.

Officials said 72 people were admitted to hospitals from the Wednesday protest, while a man died Saturday after plunging from construction scaffolding where he unfurled a banner denouncing Hong Kong's extradition bill, local media reported.

'The government has chose to suspend the legislative amendment exercise, ' chief executive Carrie Lam told reporters.

A large number of protesters sang "Do You Hear The People Sing?", a song from musical Les Miserables and the anthem of Hong Kong protests in 2014.

Chik Kim Ping, 65 and her husband Tse, 70, traveled from the New Territories in the north of the city to protest against the extradition bill.

Wong also expressed concerns for the message these laws would send to foreign companies operating in Hong Kong.

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In 2003 the Hong Kong government pulled legislation codifying provisions of the Basic Law aimed at preventing sedition in the face of massive protests.

Then, the event attracted more than a million people.

China's top newspaper on Sunday condemned "anti-China lackeys" of foreign forces in Hong Kong.

Loud cheers rang out when activists called through loud hailers for Lam's resignation and and the cry "step down" echoed through the streets.

"We all know two million people showed up on the streets yesterday", said lawmaker Eddie Chu, quoting the organizers' unverified estimate of the number of people who marched.

"I missed those critical moments and missed those actions [over the past week]", Wong said in an interview, as protesters chanted just a few feet away.

Activists had called on Hong Kong residents to boycott school and work, though it was unclear how many might heed that call. Some Hong Kong tycoons have already started moving personal wealth offshore.

Carrie Lam bowed to reality over the weekend and announced that the extradition bill had been suspended indefinitely.

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The bill prompted four major protests between April and June, with one on Wednesday ending with riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at largely peaceful protesters.

The massive, months-long campaign was prompted by constitutional reforms that allowed Beijing to approve candidates for Hong Kong elections.

Opposition to the extradition bill came from broad sectors of society, including the business community, professionals, teachers, students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups.

She revealed that Hong Kongers are so concerned about the bill that even her families and relatives who are public servants also took to the streets in protest.

From mid-morning, protesters braved the stormy weather in their push for the withdrawal of a divisive extradition bill and the ouster of the semi-autonomous enclave's leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, whose championing of the bill has proven to be a disastrous miscalculation. "People are afraid of using profile picture frames on Facebook that are created to support the anti-extradition bill movement in Hong Kong and are warning each other to watch what they say", Ho told CNA.

But I doubt that it was part of a concerted plan to overturn the "one country, two systems" principle or turn Hong Kong into "just another Chinese city".

Tensions boiled over and 22 police and 60 protesters were injured.

AMP chief economist, Shane Oliver, told Yahoo Finance that while Aussie businesses who were suspected of corporate criminal acts in China could be extradited to mainland China, the main issue is what this means for Hong Kong going forward. Protesters denounced Lam for ignoring the broad public hostility to the bill and are deeply concerned that, if made law, Beijing would use it to arrest political activists and opponents of the Stalinist regime.

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