Hong Kong protest – What is the extradition law, why are people protesting and what was the umbrella movement?

A MILLION protesters have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to protest an extradition law.

Here's what we know about the measure that activists claim will erode judicial independence from the city.

What is the extradition law?

Hong Kong's government is trying to push through a bill that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction that does not have already have a treaty – including mainland China.

They claim the measure will prevent Hong Kong, a colony of 7million people, from becoming a magnet for fugitives.

Leader Carrie Lam says the safeguards protect free speech and meet the international standards for human rights.

Why are people protesting?

The legislation has met with widespread opposition from a huge cross-section of society including lawyers, journalists, activists and business figures.

Black-clad demonstrators have brought the heart of the city to a standstill by flooding into major arteries of the city.

A procession of people almost two miles long marched for seven hours through central Hong Kong on Sunday, June 9.

A group of protesters had planned to stay outside the government headquarters until the extradition bill undergoes its second reading on Tuesday, but police moved in after a permit to protest expired at midnight and met the protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Even though China has run Hong Kong since 1997, the handover deal with the Brits ensured a 50-year "one country, two systems" deal where the city can retain key liberties, such as freedom of speech and an independent judiciary.

Martin Lee QC, a pro-democracy figure and former legislator who helped organise the protests, told the Guardian: “If we lose this one, Hong Kong is not Hong Kong any more, it’s just another Chinese city.”

What was the umbrella movement?

The Umbrella revolution was a series of sit-in street protests in Hong Kong, running from September 26 to December 15, 2014.

The former British colony had been promised it would be able to elect its leader by universal suffrage by 2017 – unlike the system of a "nominating committee" of 1,200, formed largely from Beijing elites.

Protests were sparked when in August 2014, Beijing passed a reform framework to stipulate universal suffrage as they wanted it.

This would be mean only two or three committee-vetted candidates who "love the country" would be able to run – and proved the final straw for those disillusioned by the thinning veneer of democracy.

Students began striking on September 22, with thousands of residents joining them  as the movement ballooned.


Hong Kong became a British colony with the end of the First Opium War in 1842.

The British fought the war to preserve the right of the East India Company to sell opium into mainland China.

The establishment of the colony gave Britain control over a number of ports to which foreign merchants could deliver goods.

Britain obtained a 99-year lease for the territory in 1898, and relinquished control when that lease expired in 1997.

Hong Kong now operates as a semi-autonomous territory, with control over its own trade, tax, and immigration policy.

Under the terms of the 1997 handover, that status is protected until 2047.

What happens after then is currently undecided, but opponents of the Beijing government fear that China will seek to gain control of the territory.

Key sites were occupied for 77 days before support for the occupation waned, and police were able to clear out activists with little resistance.

The revolution won its name from the use of umbrellas to defend protesters against police pepper spray.

Despite the mass movement, the protest ended without any political concessions from the government, with three of the most prominent activists sentenced to six to eight months' imprisonment for unlawful assembly.

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