UNPO Press Release on Recent Extradition Bill and Ongoing Protests in Hong Kong
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation is deeply concerned about the harsh crackdown on protestors in Hong Kong and the impact of the recent extradition bill on human rights, democracy, and judicial autonomy in the region.
The proposed extradition law, which would enable authorities to extradite suspects to mainland China to face trial, was triggered by the murder of a young girl in Taiwan by her boyfriend after he fled back to Hong Kong and could not be extradited to Taiwan in the absence of an extradition agreement. In response to the bill, nearly 2 million protestors have taken to the streets of Hong Kong as part of a peaceful demonstration. Last week (12th June), the demonstration turned violent when the police used 150 rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons against the protestors. The UNPO strongly condemns the harsh use of force by Hong Kong authorities against the protestors exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Since 1997 Hong Kong has been a part of China under the "one country, two systems" principle, which guarantees that it retains its own judicial independence, legislature and economic system. However, in the light of the extradition bill, critics fear that Hong Kong would potentially succumb to Chinese Communist party pressure and extradite political opposers of the regime to Beijing. Many human rights observers have expressed this eventuality and given the Chinese Communist Party’s grim human rights record in other dissident parts of Chinese civil society, including the use of torture, arbitrary detention, and forced confessions, this gives rise to serious human rights concerns.
The extradition law, which will also apply to Taiwan and Macau, reflects the increasing efforts of the Chinese Communist Party to restrict self-determination and democracy in the region. The one country, two systems principles is ineffective if Hong Kong comes under China’s decisive control and cannot maintain its judicial independence, core values and the rule of law that its population advocate.
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