CE Lam made the announcement following days of large scale protests in Hong Kong, which also blocked access to the city’s parliament. On June 12, several journalists and protesters were injured when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds. Despite the announcement by CE Lam, over two million people took to the streets of Hong Kong Sunday demanding the government withdraw the bill immediately. The Civil human Rights Front (CHRF) estimated that 28.5% of the city’ population took part in Sunday’s protests.
Since the protests started on June 9, it is estimated that over 80 protesters have been injured, while journalists and media have been harassed and attacked, targeted with rubber bullets and tear gas as they cover the demonstrations. On June 13, it was reported that secure communications platform Telegram suffered a major cyberattack originating from China. The platform was been used by people across Hong Kong during the protests.
While the protests have received widespread coverage across the globe, media coverage in China has been largely non-existent. The People’s Daily, which is seen as the unofficial mouthpiece of the Chinese Government, published a short opinion piece playing down the protests but has otherwise been silent. China’s state broadcaster CCTV avoided the subject in its main news bulletins throughout the day on Sunday.
The IFJ said: “We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Hong Kong who continue to fight for their rights in Hong Kong. We call on the Hong Kong government to immediately withdraw the extradition bill and hold widespread consultations on the issue. Immediate action also needs to be taken to ensure the safety and security of the media as they cover public situations. The reports of harassment and attacks on the media for simply doing their job are unacceptable.”