As far as history is concerned, Hong Kong is semi-autonomous under the principle of “One Country Two Systems” with China since 1997. Yet citizens of Hong Kong enjoy their own laws and liberty.
Hong Kong’s Current Agreements: At the moment, Hong Kong has agreements of extradition with twenty countries, including US and UK, excluding China. It does not have one with China besides negotiations took place for the past two decades.
Why the Bill now: Last year a Hong Kong man was accused of murdering her girl friend in Taiwan. Taiwan contacted the Hong Kong government to hand over the person to them. However he wasn’t hander over, claiming that there exists no such extradition agreement between the countries.
Following this incident, the efforts were underway to finalize one such agreement mainly between the Chinese (including China, Taiwan and Macau) and Hong Kong governments.
What does Extradition mean: Extradition is an act where one jurisdiction delivers a person accused or convicted of committing a crime in another jurisdiction, over to their law enforcement. Through the extradition process, one country can make a formal request to another country. And both can agree to hand over that official to the requested party.
Why are the people opposing it: Lets see what different parties think about the bill.
- The people of Hong Kong are strongly against the bill. They claim the bill will make all common people more vulnerable to China’s judicial system and will subject them to unfair trial, torture and arbitrary detention. And this should not be signed in any case what so ever.
- The Hong Kong government claims that bill will help the country to be safe from criminals. Extradition requests will include criminals accused of cases of rape, murder and related, to be handed over to Chinese, Taiwan and Macau authorities.
- The Hong Kong government has also assured the public that suspects for any political or religious issues will not be extradited. Similarly tax evasion is also excluded from the offenses list.
- UK and Canada has also expressed their concerns over the bill, since this would also include extradition of UK and Canadian citizens residing in Hong Kong.
The public is heavily protesting over a week and has shown their strength to oppose the Bill. The government has so far suspended the bill but it is not suspended for ever.
The government plans to make certain amendments to it and then pass it by the end of July this year.
Hope for the best!