Central government supports, respects and understands decision to suspend Hong Kong’s extradition bill

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/15 20:36:41

Three government departments including the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and Chinese foreign ministry all expressed support, respect and understanding of Hong Kong government's decision to suspend the extradition bill on Saturday. 

Carrie Lam Cheng Yet-ngor, the SAR Chief Executive announced Saturday that the SAR government will suspend the process of amendments to the SAR's Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance.

A spokesperson from the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said that Carrie Lam made the decision, in order to more widely listen to the views of the community and restore calm to the community as soon as possible. "We support, respect and understand this decision," the spokesperson said. 

All the three departments said that the central government has fully affirmed the work of the chief executive and the SAR government and will continue to firmly support the chief executive and the SAR government in their administration of the law and will work together with people from all walks of life to safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

In February, the SAR government initiated the amendments which would have not only helped deal with the transfer of suspects for trials involving Hong Kong residents suspected of being murdered in Taiwan, but would also help close the current loopholes in the legal system. It is necessary and justified to jointly fight crime and demonstrate the rule of law and justice, the spokesperson said.

Protesters took to Hong Kong streets in recent days to voice their opposition to the amendments to the extradition bill, but Wednesday's demonstrations near the Legislative Council (LegCo) office of Hong Kong turned into a riot leaving almost 80 people injured. The bill could allow the Chinese mainland to extradite criminals from Hong Kong.

Some 22 police officers were injured after being attacked with bricks and metal poles, media reports said. Hong Kong organizations supported the police in upholding the rule of law and denounced the violence that was backed by foreign forces. 

Hong Kong police are the guardian of public safety and social peace and they enjoy wide acclaim for their professional law enforcement. The central government strongly condemns the violent acts, firmly supports the police to uphold the law, and protect the rule of law and social security in Hong Kong, the spokesperson from the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said.

Geng Shuang, spokesperson of the foreign ministry, noted on Saturday that since Hong Kong returned to the People's Republic of China, the policies of "one country two systems" and the people of Hong Kong governing Hong Kong have been fully implemented. The rights and freedom of Hong Kong people are fully guaranteed. 

Suspending the extradition bill reflects the Hong Kong government's respects for democracy and the rule of law and aims to reach a stronger consensus among the public, analysts said after the SAR announced the bill had been suspended.

"Delaying the bill means the SAR government will hear more advice from the people who will give reasons why they support or oppose the bill , and try to reach a consensus," Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beihang University in Beijing and an expert on Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Saturday.

The public consultation period for soliciting public opinions was a bit short and urgent, Tian said. 

From the beginning of the process, the SAR government fully abided by the Basic Law in dealing with the amendments to the extradition bill, just as it is doing now by suspending the bill after people expressed their opposition, Fan Peng, a research fellow at the Institute of Political Science under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday. 

The Hong Kong government had made adjustments during deliberations over the bill. They raised the threshold for extradition to those facing possible sentences of seven years or longer from the previous four years. They also excluded from extradition people charged with political crimes, said Fan. 

Suspending the bill doesn't mean it has been withdrawn, but there is a chance it could be, Fan noted. 

The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the SAR stressed on Saturday that it believes the Hong Kong community will work together and hold rational discussions, accurately understand the content of the amendments, broaden the consensus of the community and safeguard the image of the rule of law in Hong Kong. 

Fan also stressed that the US has been playing a "hateful" role in provoking incidents in Hong Kong to attempt to sabotage the stability of Hong Kong. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry also frequently made comments slamming the US for pointing fingers at the internal affairs of Hong Kong. 

On Saturday, Geng emphasized that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No country, organization or individual has the right to intervene. 

Maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability is not only in the interests of China but also in the interests of all countries in the world. China's determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests and safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability is unwavering, Geng said.

Geng previously said on Friday that messing up Hong Kong will do no good for the US, and China has urged some US officials to respect basic facts, abandon prejudice, and stop using the act to interfere in China's internal affairs. 

Posted in: POLITICS

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