2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests

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2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests
June9protestTreefong01.jpgJune16protestTreefong15.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, 2 weeks and 2 days)
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 democratic 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
MethodsOccupations, 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)[4][5][6][7]
Injuries90+ (as of 14 June 2019)[3]
Arrested50+ (as of 3 July 2019)[8][9][10]
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.

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.[11][12][13][14] 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.[15][16][17]

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.[18] 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. 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.[19][20] A protest march held on 16 June was attended by nearly 2 million people, according to organisers;[21][22] police sources estimated 338,000 protesters at the height of the march.[23]

On 1 July, 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.[24] 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.

On 9 July, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the extradition bill was "dead," calling amendment efforts a "total failure."[25] Lam gave no assurances, however, that the bill would be completely withdrawn, or that any of the other demands of protestors would be addressed.[26][27] In July, the city continued to be rocked by waves of localised protests, many of which have turned violent.

Background[edit]

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,[14] 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.[14][28]

Events[edit]

March 31 demonstration[edit]

The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), a platform for 50 pro-democracy groups, launched its first protest march 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.[29]

April 28 demonstration[edit]

a large procession along the east-bound carriageway of a road through a built-up area; severe traffic congestion in the westbound carriageway
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.[15]

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, even though Chan Tong-kai had been jailed for 29 months shortly before. Lam said Chan could be out of prison by October hence the urgency of passing the extradition bill.[16] 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.[17]

June 6 lawyers' silent march[edit]

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, heads held high, in front of government headquarters for three minutes. Councillor Kwok said, "We shall not bow our heads [to the government]".[30] 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.[31]

While the lawyer-protesters 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.[31]

June 9 march[edit]

Daytime rally[edit]

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. The march started from Victoria Park, Causeway Bay to the Legislative Council in Admiralty, an approximately 3 km (1.86 mi) route.

Police ordered MTR to not stop trains at Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Tin Hau stations for several hours.[32] Protesters exited at Fortress Hill in order to join the protest.[33] 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.[34] 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.[35]

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.[36] While reports suggested it had been the largest ever,[37] the police put the crowd at only 270,000 at its peak.[38][39][40]

Night-time clashes[edit]

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.[41] Although the Civil Human Rights Front officially had called an end to the march at 10 pm, around 100 protesters remained at the Civic Square.[42]

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.[43] 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 fails to respond to their demand to withdraw the bill.[41]

Around midnight, tensions escalated and clashes broke out between thousands of protesters and officers at the Legislative Council Complex.[38] 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 driven by officers to Lung King Street in Wan Chai around 2 am and then moved onto Gloucester Road while chanting, "No extradition to China!"[38]

The South China Morning Post described the night protest as similar to "bigger clashes during the 2014 Occupy protests for greater democracy."[42] The number of protesters gradually dwindled around 3 am.[42] 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 per cent of them were younger than 25.[8]

The next morning, Chief Executive Lam refused to withdraw the bill but acknowledged that the size of the rally was "significant" and it showed there were "clearly still concerns" over the bill.[44] In reference to the promise that she had given during the 2017 Chief Executive election campaign that she would resign "if mainstream opinion makes me no longer able to continue the job", 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."[45]

June 12 siege of LegCo[edit]

Early stage[edit]

Online groups called on people to sit-in at the Tamar Park to "picnic" on the morning of 12 June.

A general strike had been called for 12 June, the day of the planned resumption of the second reading of the extradition bill; hundreds of businesses closed for the day and numerous workers went on strike. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) appealed to workers to join the protest.[46] 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.[47][48] 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 several major higher education institutions including the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, City University of Hong Kong, Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts also called for student strike on 12 June; 50 social welfare and religious groups also took part in the strike.[49] 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."[50]

A Facebook post calling on people to "enjoy a picnic" at the Tamar Park on 11 June, in which 2,000 people attended. In preparation for 12 June protest, the police force tightened the security in the Admiralty station and stopped the commuters, mostly teenagers and searched their bags, resulting in a brief confrontation between the protesters and the police.[51]

Another call to "enjoy picnic" at the Tamar Park next to the government headquarters on 12 June attracted close to 10,000 responses, while 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.[52] Lung Wo Road and surrounding streets were also blocked by the protesters in a scene reminiscent of the 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.[53][54] Around 11 am, the Legislative Council Secretariat announced that the second debate on the extradition bill had been postponed indefinitely.[53]

Violent clashes[edit]

HK Police shot at peaceful protesters with rubber-bullets and bean bag rounds during mass protest. 12 June 2019

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.[53]

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.[53]

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.[53] 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.[53]

Protesters remained in the streets outside the AIA Tower in Central, Queensway outside Pacific Place shopping mall and the junction of Arsenal Street and Hennessy Road in Wan Chai into the night. In Central, private cars were mobilised to block Connaught Road Central while protesters chanted "scrap the extradition bill" from the Exchange Square bridge. The number of protesters dwindled after midnight as roads gradually reopened. By the end of the day, at least 79 protesters and police officers had been treated in hospitals;[55] around 150 tear gas canisters, "several" rounds of rubber bullets, and 20 beanbag shots had been fired during the protest clearance.[56]

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".[57][58][3] Chief Executive Carrie Lam backed Lo, saying the protesters' "dangerous and life threatening acts" had devolved into a "blatant, organised riot".[59]

Overnight, 2,000 protesters from religious groups held a vigil outside the government headquarters, singing hymns and praying.[60] Various trade unions, businesses and schools also vowed to stage protests.[61] The Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union called for a city-wide strike for a week. At least 4,000 Hong Kong teachers followed the call.[62]

Siege of CITIC Tower[edit]

CITIC Tower from Lung Wui Road.

The police were criticised for their handling of protesters outside CITIC Tower, a commercial block on Tim Mei Avenue adjacent to the Legislative Council. Videos depicted the police firing tear gas on both sides of Lung Wui Road at around 4 pm. According to the Civil Human Rights Front, the police had earlier agreed to peaceful demonstration within that area in its letter of no objection. The police action cornered protesters, leaving them no route of escape amid the chaos bar the entrance to the building.[63][64]

Hundreds of protesters surged, screaming and coughing, towards the building but, for long moments, could enter in no more than a trickle 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.[65] 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. "Tell me, under which police rule, can you shoot tear gas canisters at people who are retreating?", legislator Joseph Lee asked Secretary for Security John Lee.[66]

Amnesty International also criticised the use of tear gas at the trapped crowd. "Tear gas may only be used to disperse crowds when violence is widespread, and only where people are able to leave the area," Amnesty's report stated. "It may not be used in confined spaces or where exits are blocked or restricted." It also stresses that tear gas canisters should never be fired directly at a person and clearly audible warnings must be issued prior to their use; people must be allowed sufficient time to leave the scene.[67]

Police brutality allegations[edit]

Many videos of aggressive police action went viral online: one showed tear gas canisters being fired at peaceful and unarmed protesters, first-aid volunteers,[68] 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.[69][70] 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.[71]

Democratic Party legislators condemned the authorities for "clamping down on a largely peaceful protest with excessive force." Andrew Wan said the government and police had "gone crazy".[53] Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said the response by the authorities was "not proportional".[69] Wu was seen in an online video repeatedly shouting, "I am the Legislative Councillor! Who is your commander?" at police frontlines as a tear gas canister went off near him.[69]

Amnesty International criticised the police for using excessive force against demonstrators. Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, Tam Man-kei, said tear gas and rubber bullets were notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate, and could result in serious injury and even death. He condemned the use of tear gas and pepper spray against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters as "a violation of international law".[53][72]

On 21 June, Amnesty published a report of apparent excessive use of force after its team of experts examined footage of 14 incidents.[73] Those incidents included allegations of the unlawful use of batons and rubber bullets, improper use of riot control agents, lack of visible identification and restrictions on journalists and medics.[74] Amnesty concluded that the use of force by police against the largely peaceful protest was unnecessary and excessive and that the police had "violated international human rights law and standards."[73]

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 a legal obligation.[75] 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, were posted online to their chagrin.[76]

Chief Executive Lam and Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo repeatedly sidestepped questions over police violence and the protesters' demand to establish 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.[77]

Assaults on journalists[edit]

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 the police had unreasonably interfered with newsgathering, such as shining flashlights directly at them and dispersing them. A driver for public broadcaster RTHK was hit by a tear gas round and was sent to hospital after he suffered a cardic arrest.[78] The HKJA also said some police officers had insulted them with foul language, called them "trash", and shouted to them "reporters have no special privilege".[79] One police officer, among several who had been accused of targeting journalists, was captured on camera yelling a profanity at a member of the press.[80] Another online video showed a foreign journalist shouting at riot police, "You shoot the press!" as tear gas rounds were fired at them.[81] At a police press conference on 13 June, many reporters wore reflective jackets, helmets and gas masks in protest against the violence committed on frontline reporters.[82] The HKJA filed a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) claiming police had caused bodily harm to 26 journalists during the protests.[83]

Hospital arrests[edit]

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.[84]

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.[85]

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.[86][87]

June 14 mothers' sit-in[edit]

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."[88][89] Some 6,000 people participated in a three-hour sit-in at Chater Garden in Central organised by the group 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."[90] The organisers also said they had collected more than 44,000 signatures in a petition condemning the views Lam expressed in the interview.[91]

June 16 march[edit]

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.[21] 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 Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), said the suspension could be a trap.[92][93] 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".[94]

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.[95] 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.[96] 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.[97]

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.[96]

The Civil Human Rights Front claimed the final turnout at "almost 2 million plus 1 citizens", which set the record of the largest protest in Hong Kong history.[98][99][100][101][102] The police said that there were 338,000 marchers on the original route at its peak.[23] 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.[103]

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."[23]

June 21 & 24 police HQ sieges[edit]

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.[104] Dozens of protesters also staged a sit-in at the Revenue Tower and Immigration Tower nearby.[105] Another round of blockade occurred three days later, on 24 June.[106] On 26 June, protesters returned to the Revenue Tower to apologize to civil servants for the earlier disruption.[107]

By the evening of 21 June, a siege had developed at the Police Headquarters as thousands of protesters amassed in Arsenal Street.[105] 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".[108] 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.[109] 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 coaches.[108] 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.[110]

June 26 & 28 G20 summit rallies[edit]

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 summit, handing out petitions to raise awareness of the movement in hopes of putting pressure on China.[111] However 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".[112]

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.[113][114] Thousands of protesters then assembled at Edinburgh Place at night, holding signs that read "Democracy now" and "Free Hong Kong".[115] At the same time, around 1,000 protesters surrounded the Wan Chai police headquarters for six hours.[116]

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.[117] 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.[118]


July 1 protests[edit]

Annual pro-democracy march[edit]

The annual 1 July march at the Jardine's Bazaar shopping district.

While the government celebrated the anniversary of the Handover of Hong Kong to China after 99 years as a British colony, hundreds of thousands rallied peacefully against the government; the organiser claimed 550,000 protesters, while police placed the estimate around 190,000.[119][120] Researchers combining artificial intelligence and manual counting techniques concluded that a total of 265,000 people marched.[121]

There was a protest against the annual flag-raising ceremony in the morning outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where police used pepper spray and batons to suppress the disruption.[122]

Before the march, youths had begun besieging the Legislative Council building. Due to the storming of the Legislative Council, with groups of protesters, the destination of the march was diverted to Chater Road in Central.[123]

Storming of Legco[edit]

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.[124] 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,"[125][126] smashed furniture, defaced the Hong Kong emblem, waved the Union Jack and displayed the colonial Hong Kong flag on the podium.[127][128] 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.[129] The police started using tear gas to disperse protesters around the LegCo at 12:05 am and reached the building 15 minutes later.[130]

Protesters blamed the occupation and acts of property damage to be the result of Carrie Lam's "lack of positive response to the public."[131] 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.[132]

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".[133] However, Lam dodged questions regarding recent deaths and the government left the unanswered questions out of the official transcript, an act criticized 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".[134]

By early 5 July, there had been at least 66 arrests and first formal charges laid in connection with the incident.[135]

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 stated the police absence was "notable [and] ominous" and questioned: "What kind of police force doesn’t act to prevent the legislature from being stormed? A police force that no longer sees its purpose as maintaining public order and is, instead, carrying out the government’s political agenda."[136] The police explained that they had to retreat as they were "considering a number of factors."[137] However, many have stated that they believe it was a planned "public relations show" to gain public support for the government[138] and villainise protesters in an attempt to seize the moral high ground and suppress the movement.[139]

Admiralty Declaration[edit]

From within the occupied Legislative Council governing chambers, a new manifesto with ten points was presented,[140][141] calling for greater freedom and democracy, and independence from the political influences of Beijing.[142] Brian Leung Kai-ping, the 25-year-old student activist who presented this declaration, said afterwards: "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."[143] 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."[144]

July 5 mothers' sit-in[edit]

On Friday evening, a second mother's rally occurred at Chater Garden in Central. According to organizers, about 8,000 were in attendance, while police cited 1300 in attendance[145][146] The gathering of mothers and allies shared solidarity with young protestors and condemned the government for being indifferent to Hong Kong people's demands.[147] One mother vowed "If they don't release the young people, we will keep standing out."[148]

July 7 Tsim Sha Tsui march[edit]

Daytime rally[edit]

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 has promised that it would be a peaceful rally.[149]

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.[150]

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.[151] 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.[152]

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.[153]

Night-time clashes[edit]

HK police beat the journalists covering a standoff on Nathan Road in Mong Kok at 7 July 2019 night.

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.[154] Riot police, most of them refusing to display an identification number or warrant card[155][156] arrived, assaulting protestors and journalists alike.[157][158][159][160] By the end of the night, at least six arrests were made.[161][162] 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.[156]

Subsequent protests[edit]

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.[163]

July 10 Yau Tong's Lennon Wall tension[edit]

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.[164]

The crowds built up at night, growing into the hundreds.[165] Numerous scuffles then broke out between a hundred pro-government residents and a much larger crowd protecting the youngsters.[166] Hundreds of police arrived and formed a defense line on the staircase leading from the MTR exit.[167] 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,[166] including two retired police officers for common assault.[168]

July 14 Sha Tin march[edit]

Tens of thousands marched in Sha Tin near New Town Plaza on 14 July.

Daytime rally[edit]

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.[169]

Evening clashes[edit]

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. Protesters set up barricades and threw objects including traffic cones and bottles at police at about 5 pm. Shortly after, around 20 officers moved towards them while pepper-spraying protesters. During the stand-off, residents near the streets tossed down necessities, including water bottles, umbrellas and cling wrap, to support the protesters.[170] At 6 pm, dozens of officers moved closer to the protesters but kept a distance, while warning the crowd to leave with a loudspeaker.[171] Tension rose when a police officer attempted to remove the mask worn by a protester without showing his warrant card.[172]

As the allowed duration for the march according to the Letter of No Objection had expired, protesters moved to the nearby shopping mall, New Town Plaza. Outside the mall, a film screening for Lost in the Fumes, a documentary about the localist Edward Leung, was to be held. The film screening was soon cancelled and the organisers announced that a peaceful assembly would instead be held.[173] At 8:55 pm, police warned the crowd that if people did not leave they would start making arrests. Ten minutes later, police raised the red warning flag. At 10 pm, police started using pepper spray on several protesters in the plaza.[174]

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–thereby unnecessarily trapping demonstrators and engaging in a tactic called "kettling"–which sparked defensive reactions from cornered protesters. At the same time, MTR Corporation announced that no trains would stop at 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.[175] Some protesters stopped the train's doors from closing to ensure that all protesters could leave safely.[176] 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.[177]

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.[178] Pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin, who was there that night, also asked why demonstrators were given no pathway to leave: "Have protesters blocked the roads? No. Has anything in the mall been damaged? Don’t see any – and the mall has said it did not ask for police to come in." Lawmaker Au called the policing tactics "rubbish."[179] 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, making it harder for them to effectively exercise their duties."[180] Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated that police "exercised restraint when they were being attacked by those whom I describe as 'rioters'."[181] By the end of the night, at least 22 people were hospitalised, several in critical and serious condition; and at least 40 arrests were made.[182]

July 15 hunger strikers March[edit]

On the evening of July 15th, 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.[183]

Worldwide solidarity protests[edit]

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.[184][185] 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.[185]

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.[186] In Adelaide, 150 people protested against the extradition law.[187]

On 16 June, a group of Hong Kong students and local supporters held a peaceful sit-in at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to support the protests in Hong Kong.[188] In Auckland and Adelaide, around 500 people gathered to demand Chief Executive Lam to withdraw the bill and apologise for her actions.[189] On 17 June, 1,500 people protested outside the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver BC.[190]

On 23 June, 5000 people held a rally in Taipei against Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill.[191]

On 14 July a "Sing for Hong Kong" event was held in London.[192][193]

Suicides[edit]

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
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.[194][195][196] One even stated "What Hong Kong needs is a revolution."[197][198]

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.[194] 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.[199] 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.[194][200][201]

A shrine appeared at the scene soon afterwards. 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.[201] On Thursday 11 July another vigil was held, in which thousands turned up leaving sunflowers at the memorial site.[202] Artists in Prague have also honored the event, and painted a memorial on the Lennon Wall in the Czech Republic, depicting a yellow raincoat along with words of well wishes.[203]

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.[204][205] 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.[6][195][206] A memorial was held the following Friday at the site of her death in Fanling.[207][208][209]

On 30 June a third democracy activist died, when 29-year-old notary office clerk Zita Wu jumped from the International Financial Centre.[210][196] She left a final note on Facebook hoping for victory.[196] On Saturday night, 6 July there was a memorial event held for Ms. Wu at Edinburgh Place in Central.[211][212] Thousands were in attendance, honoring her life with offerings of flowers and candles.[213]

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.[214] Her suicide note urged a revolution.[197][215][216][198] Ms. Mak's memorial service was held on the evening of 10 July at Edinburgh Place.[217][218][219]

Methods[edit]

Decentralised leadership[edit]

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.[220] The Civil Human Rights Front (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 pro-independence 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 "in-built" by experience from previous protests.[220] This decentralisation has led to a more versatile movement but has also made it difficult for officials to locate representatives for negotiations.[221]

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.[222]

Flexible and diverse tactics[edit]

Protesters are reported to have adopted Bruce Lee’s philosophy, to be "formless [and] shapeless, like water."[223] By flowing dynamically to different government offices during the 21 June protests, they aimed to bring additional pressure to bear on the government.[221][224]

The "Do Not Split" (不割席) principle has helped maintain cohesion throughout the broad political spectrum of the struggle.[225] 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."[225] Minimization 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."[226]

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. Tens of thousands attended the rallies, in support of the protest actions of the younger generation, while standing firm together to oppose police brutality, Carrie Lam and the undemocratic interventionism of the mainland Chinese government.[90][145][147]

Online activism[edit]

Protesters also took to the internet to exchange information and ideas. Netizens used the popular online forum LIHKG to gain traction for protests. These include disrupting the MTR services, gathering for vigils or organising "picnics" (a term used to prevent accusations from the police), making anti-extradition bill memes that appeal to conservative values so that Hong Kong elderly would better understand the anti-extradition rationale.[220]

Lulu Yilun Chen of Bloomberg News stated that protesters had been using Telegram to communicate in order to conceal their own identity and prevent tracking by the Chinese government and Hong Kong Police Force.[227] The app's servers were under DDoS attacks on 12 June. The app's founder Pavel Durov identified the origin of the attack as China,[228][229][230] and stated that it "coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong".[231]

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.[232] Legal scholar Professor Richard Cullen stated that he had never seen that degree of "cyberbullying against the police" before.[233] In early July, the police arrested 8 individuals in connection to the allegations.[234][235]

Christian hymn[edit]

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, led by pastors, the Christians stood between the crowds and police to help prevent violence and pray for Hong Kong with the hymn.[236] Under Hong Kong's Public Order Ordinance, religious gatherings are exempt from the definition of a "gathering" or "assembly" and therefore more difficult to police.[237][238] The song was repeatedly sung over 10 hours throughout the night and quickly became viral online.[236] The frequent use of this hymn also reveals the support from Hong Kong churches, who worried about their ministry with house churches in Mainland China after passing this law.[239][240]

Petition campaigns[edit]

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.[241] 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.[242] 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.[242] 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.[243]

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.[244]

Advertising campaign[edit]

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."[245] 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.[246] 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.[247][248] 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.[249]

AirDrop broadcast[edit]

In June and July, protesters in Hong Kong have been using the iPhone app AirDrop to broadcast anti-extradition bill information to people inside MTR trains, allowing Hongkongers to know more about the concerns regarding the extradition bill.[250][251]

During the 7 July protest in Tsim Sha Tsui, a major tourist district, protesters also used AirDrop to share information regarding the protests and concerns about the extradition bill with mainland Chinese tourists.[252] Some shared QR codes that looked like "free money" from Alipay and WeChat Pay, but actually redirected to information regarding the bill.[253]

Chinese websites and media have censored nearly all information about the protests.[254][255] AirDrop is peer-to-peer (via WiFi or Bluetooth) and does not connect to the Internet, therefore democracy activists are able to share posters in Simplified Chinese, bypassing the Great Firewall of China.[256][257]

Neighbourhood Lennon Walls[edit]

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 colorful post-it note messages for freedom and democracy have "blossomed everywhere" (遍地開花)[258] and appeared throughout the entire Hong Kong.[259][260]

Known neighbourhood Lennon Walls include Sheung Shui, Tin Shui Wai, Shatin, Fanling, Ma On Shan, Tsing Yi, Tung Chung, and Tai Po in the New Territories; Sai Ying Pun, Shek Tong Tsui, Causeway Bay, Sai Wan Ho, Chai WanChoi Hung, Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong, Mei Foo, Kowloon Bay, Whampoa, and Tai Kok Tsui, as well as many others on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and outlying islands.[261] According to a crowd-sourced map of Hong Kong, there are over 125 Lennon Walls throughout the region.[262]

Lennon Walls have also appeared outside of Hong Kong in the cities of: Toronto, Vancouver BC, and Tokyo.[263][264][265]

Lennon Wall outside of a Yoshinoya fast-food chain, Hong Kong. A protest against their advertisement decisions.

Advertising boycotts[edit]

Communications Authority received approximately 12,000 complaints criticizing TVB's coverage which is said to favour the pro-establishment camp of the CCP.[266] There are accusations that TVB engages in "structural censorship" of content – by presenting an overly simplified narrative with limited information; therefore avoiding more overt explicit censorship methods.[267]

In light of this, some companies, including the Hong Kong branches of Pocari Sweat and Pizza Hut, withdrew their advertisements from TVB. This drew praise from anti-extradition protestors, but drew angry responses from Mainland consumers.[268] Online users began targeting mooncake manufacturers who placed advertisements on TVB in the lead up to the Mid-autumn Festival. Protesters also boycotted Yoshinoya Hong Kong for allegedly severing ties with their partnering marketing agency which launched an advertisement, satirizing recent police brutality, for the firm earlier.[269]

Hunger strikers outside Admiralty Centre. 9 July 2019

Hunger strikes[edit]

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.[270][271][272]

Other movements[edit]

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[edit]

On 6 July, people marched in a protest organized 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.[273] The organizer claimed that nearly 10,000 people attended the protest.[274]

Reclaim Sheung Shui[edit]

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

On 13 July, a protest was organized in Sheung Shui for opposing cross-border smuggling by mainland Chinese dealers, with 30,000 attendees claimed by the organizer [275]. It was largely peaceful for the first two hours.

However, as it went on, the organizer and protesters refused to follow the authorized route, which had Sheung Shui Station as the destination. Instead, they marched on Sheung Shui Plaza, occupied some traffic roads and started skirmishing with the police who accused them of participating in an unlawful assembly, triggering off an hour-long standoff which lasted until late night. A handful of journalists were attacked by the police with batons for their live reporting of the event.[276].

During the skirmishes, a number of dispensaries were vandalized by the protesters because it was thought that they were directly complicit in the mainland Chinese cross-border smuggling. After the riot police cleared the crowd from the traffic roads, they chased the crowd onto a footbridge leading to Sheung Shui Station, when a teenager with uneven bottom length suddenly jumped off the footbridge to escape arrest, but was rescued jointly by the journalists and police. He was eventually arrested, insulted and ushered into the police van by the police, who told the press that he would be charged with "unlawful assembly" [277], resulting in instant online uproar.

Reclaim HKU[edit]

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.[278]

Journalists' silent march[edit]

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.[279]

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.[280]

Counter-demonstrations[edit]

On 9 June, more than a dozen ships carrying banners with slogans supporting the bill cruised Victoria Harbour.[281] 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.[282]

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.[283] 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.[284]

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.[285] 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.[285] The Lennon Wall in Admiralty was destroyed by the pro-police supporters[286] and pan-democratic Legislative Councilor Lam Cheuk-ting was physically assaulted.[287]

Chinese government and media[edit]

Allegations of foreign interference[edit]

Timelapse video of 16 June protests.

After the 9 June protest, the Beijing government blamed "outside interference" and voiced its support to the Hong Kong administration. The Foreign Ministry accused opponents of the proposed legislation of "collusion with the West".[288] 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"[282][288] while the 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".[289]

Censorship[edit]

The protests were mostly censored from Mainland Chinese social media, such as Sina Weibo.[290] 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.[291] 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.[292] 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.[293] However, Chinese social media users have circumvented the censors by rotating relevant pictures or even putting logos on them.[294]

International reaction[edit]

  • Australia AustraliaMinister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne stated, "Australia supports the right of people to protest peacefully and to exercise their freedom of speech, and we urge all sides to show restraint and avoid violence".[295]
  • Canada CanadaMinister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland released a statement on 12 June, stating that "Canada remains concerned of the potential effects these proposals may have on the large number of Canadian citizens in Hong Kong, on business confidence, and on Hong Kong's international reputation". The statement urged the Hong Kong government to heed the people and the international community, as well as to safeguard the high degree of autonomy, rule of law, and independent judiciary of the territory.[296]
  • European Union European Union – The European Union External Affairs Ministry said rights "need to be respected" in Hong Kong on 12 June: "Over the past days, the people of Hong Kong have exercised their fundamental right to assemble and express themselves freely and peacefully. These rights need to be respected".[297]
  • Germany GermanyChancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the protest was a good sign that the majority of protesters have been peaceful "and we appeal to all concerned to ensure that things remain just as peaceful in Hong Kong".[298]
  • Japan JapanMinister of Foreign Affairs Tarō Kōno said, "I strongly hope that things will be settled early and Hong Kong's freedom and democracy will be maintained".[299] Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has cautioned President Xi over recent turmoil in Hong Kong at the G20 Summit. Abe told Xi it is important for "a free and open Hong Kong to prosper under "one country, two systems' policy".[300]
  • Macau Macau – On 11 June, following the events in Hong Kong, the Macau SAR government said it would develop a wait-and-see approach in regards to negotiating their own extradition law with Mainland China.[301]
  • Taiwan Taiwan – President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her solidarity with the people of Hong Kong, remarking that Taiwan's democracy was hard-earned and had to be guarded and renewed, and pledged that as long as she is Taiwan's president, she will never accept "one country, two systems"; she cited what she considered to be a constant and rapid deterioration of Hong Kong's democracy in merely 20 years' time.[302] She also posted on Instagram to provide support for "Hongkongers on the front line," saying the Taiwanese people would support all those who fight for free speech and democracy.[303] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan stated they supported Hong Kong's fighting against the extradition bill and for rule of law.[304] They also criticised Hong Kong officials of using Taiwan as an excuse to pass the extradition bill, citing the Hong Kong government had been indifferent to "multiple requests" to extradite Chan Tong-kai on an ad-hoc basis.[305]
  • United Kingdom United KingdomForeign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged the Hong Kong government to "engage in meaningful dialogue and take steps to preserve Hong Kong's rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy, which underpin its international reputation". He added that upholding the "one country, two systems" principle, which is legally bound in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, is vital to Hong Kong's future success.[306] The British Consulate in Hong Kong also opened its doors for protesters in need of sanctuary.[307] The supply of crowd control equipment (e.g. rubber bullets and tear gas) have been suspended in response to the violence portrayed by the police force.[308] Former colonial Hong Kong governor Chris Patten hoped the (British) government would "have a public enquiry into the demonstrations that have taken place over recent weeks, and to the way they’ve been policed", but he also criticised the storming of the Legislative Council on 1 July.[309] On 3 July, Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, was summoned to the UK's Foreign Office.[310]
  • United States United StatesState Department voiced support for the 9 June protesters, and called on the Hong Kong government to ensure "any amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance should be pursued with great care".[311] United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly condemned the bill and offered support to the protesters.[312] After the storming of Legislative Council complex, President Trump said, "I think most people want democracy. Unfortunately, some governments don't want democracy"; US State Department urged "all sides to refrain from violence".[313] However, during the G20 meeting in late June, President Trump reportedly linked muting US support for the protests in exchange for re-opening trade talks with China.[314][315]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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