Hong Kong extradition bill turmoil damaged whole society: Chinese premier

Some protesters in Hong Kong have increasingly resorted to violence since mass demonstrations began in June. (AFP)
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Updated 16 December 2019

Hong Kong extradition bill turmoil damaged whole society: Chinese premier

  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam in Beijing
  • Some protesters in territory have increasingly resorted to violence

BEIJING: Turmoil over amendments to extradition legislation has damaged Hong Kong society on all fronts, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Monday during a meeting with the territory’s leader, Carrie Lam.
Lam is in Beijing for talks with Li and Chinese President Xi Jinping. It’s her first visit to Beijing since pro-democracy candidates swept local Hong Kong elections last month in a rebuke of how Lam has handled months of fiery anti-government protests.
“In the past year, our politics, economy and society have really faced big problems,” Lam said at her meeting with Li, who reiterated the central government’s support for her administration.
The mass demonstrations began in June in response to proposed legislation that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be tried for crimes in mainland China. While Lam has since withdrawn the bill, protesters have continued calling for broader democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.
Some protesters have increasingly resorted to violence. A lull in clashes ended Sunday evening when protesters threw bricks at police officers, who in turn fired tear gas. According to the authorities, the rioters also set fires, blocked roads and smashed traffic lights with hammers.
Video footage showed truncheon-wielding riot officers squirting pepper spray at a man in a group of journalists and ganging up to beat and manhandle him.
The violence and scattered confrontations in shopping malls earlier Sunday, where police also squirted pepper spray and made several arrests, ended what had been a break of a couple of weeks in conflicts between police and protesters.
It has snowballed into a full-blown challenge to the government and Communist leaders in Beijing, with an array of demands, including that Hong Kong’s leader and legislators all be fully elected. A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under a framework that promised the city more democratic freedoms than are allowed on the mainland.


Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

Updated 23 February 2020

Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

  • Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it
  • The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India

NEW DELHI: Police used tear gas to disperse large crowds in India’s capital of New Delhi on Sunday in the latest eruption of violence at protests over a new citizenship law, police officials said.
Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it, with the two groups pelting each other with stones in the Maujpur area in the northeastern part of the city, according to television footage.
“There must be some miscreants who want to spoil the peace in the area. We will identify them and take action against them,” Alok Kumar, a senior Delhi police official, told reporters about the protest.
“The situation is under control now,” he added.
The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India, where he is expected to raise the issue of religious freedom in the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from neighboring Muslim-majority nations to gain citizenship, has triggered weeks of sometimes violent protests against Modi’s government.
The Indian law is seen by opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions.
Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against the country’s 180 million Muslims.
On Sunday, a separate protest also erupted in the northern Indian city of Aligarh, where protesters threw stones at the police, state administration official Chandra Bhushan Singh said.
The Internet in the area had been suspended until midnight, he added.