Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) strongly supports the Hong Kong peoples’ protests against the controversial extradition bill, which would not only repress political, social, and labor activism in the city, but would also endanger political and civil rights of the citizens.
In February 2019, the Hong Kong government proposed revisions to the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill, commonly referred to as extradition bill in the media. If passed, the new law would allow the government to send criminal suspects, regardless of nationality and residential status, to countries with which the government has no extradition agreement, including China, an authoritarian regime without fair trials and rules of law.
It is believed that the bill has been imposed by the Chinese government, making the Hong Kong people and foreigners living in the city worried of political abuses of the bill. Political, social, and labor activists also fear that the bill would be turned into a tool of repression of their activism by the Chinese government, which is notorious for suppressing dissidents and violating human rights.
Concerns for the erosion of the “one country, two systems,” and losing judicial independence and political and civil rights drove a million protesters to take to the street on June 9, 2019. Three days later, with the bill was supposed to be debated in the legislative council, thousands of demonstrators blocked the areas where the government headquarters and legislative council are located. To suppress the unarmed protesters, the police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and bean bags, resulting in at least 80 injuries.
Despite the large-scale protests, the government had refused to make any compromises and smeared the occupy actions as riots. It was only until the day before another protest on June 16 that the government decided to pause the legislation temporarily. Despite this minor concession, two million people joined the rally to demand that the extradition bill be completely scrapped and the chief executive, the top government leader in the city, step down.
DSA stands in solidarity with the Hong Kong people, whose actions are legitimate and well-grounded. DSA condemns the Hong Kong government for using violence and coercion to suppress the peaceful protesters. And DSA urges the Hong Kong government to respond positively to the Hong Kong peoples’ demands.