The protests started in June in opposition to the proposed extradition law with mainland China under certain circumstances. The introduction of the bill caused widespread criticism domestically and abroad from the legal profession, journalists’ organisations and business groups fearing the erosion of Hong Kong’s legal system and its built-in safeguards. Critics feared this could undermine the city’s judicial independence and endanger dissidents.
Moreover, they also argued the bill would give China greater influence over HK and could be used to target activists and journalists. Unlike China, Hong Kong has its own legal system and rights including freedom of assembly and free speech are protected.
Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam agreed to withdraw the extradition bill in September, but demonstrations developed further to include demands for full democracy and an inquiry into police actions. But clashes between police and activists have become increasingly violent, with police firing live bullets and protesters attacking officers and throwing petrol bombs.
In order to shed light on the situation in Hong Kong, the International Federation is organising a press briefing with a visiting delegation of journalists, trade unionists and lawyers from Hong Kong at the Brussels Press Club on 16 October from 10 – 12 am.
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