The Heat: Hong Kong protests

protests in Hong Kong now that a controversial bill has been declared dead what happens next hello I'm on a Nidoran this is the heat over the last few weeks hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Hong Kong the demonstrations were sparked by opposition to the proposed legislation known as the fugitive offenders ordinance that would allow for the extradition of criminal suspects to the Chinese mainland and although the protests have largely been peaceful earlier this month some protesters broke into the Legislative Council building and vandalized it meanwhile this week Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam declared that the bill is now dead the former British colony also recently marked the 22nd anniversary of its return to the Chinese mainland and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region there is much to discuss so let's get to our panel joining me now from Hong Kong is Andrew Leung he is an international and independent China strategist also with us from Shanghai is Fredd tang he is president of the America China Public Affairs Institute joining us from Beijing is Shindo Xu he is senior fellow at the pango institution and also with me right here in the studio is CGT and white house correspondent Nathan King welcome to all of you to the show Nathan let me start with you we've seen these demonstrations now for weeks in Hong Kong they were sparked by this controversy over this fugitive offenders ordinance bill also have known as the extradition bill it basically allows for extradition to the Chinese mainland so give us some context here why have the protesters being so outspoken in their opposition to the bill well I think we need to go back a bit I mean the incentive for this bill was a rather grisly murder that happened in the region of Taiwan where essentially the alleged perpetrator killed his girlfriend and pretty nicely and put her in a suitcase and withdraw money from the ATM and then sort of fled to Hong Kong that was there were huge headlines all over China about this and in Hong Kong and in Taiwan and essentially this guy could not face murder charges he could face money no three charges a because of the ATM withdrawal but not anything else and so that sort of sparked this moved for this for this law and what surprised me is that that Hong Kong did not have next traditions really already with China or Taiwan or they do have extradition agreements with others including former communists at the UK but obviously what happened is the executive and the council really did underestimate the feeling in Hong Kong and they have apologized since not explaining the law not talking more openly not having wider consultations and they really their messaging was terrible I mean if you looked into the details of the proposed law there were so many different steps that something would it would have to go to before someone was extradited somewhere else regard even to Beijing or somewhere else there were so many different judicial steps that had to be going through but this was so poorly explained by the Hong Kong government and also the reaction was so Swift and so fast that it caught them by control but this is not just about this one law is it there is there's a real feeling of a disconnect between the population of Hong Kong and the people that rule them that stems really back to even pre 1997 handover and I'm sure we'll get into it you know I'm sure our Chinese guests have much more you wants to say on it but that's kind of setting it up for you right just to be clear on something Nathan this law would cover a whole wide range of crimes in Hong Kong right but not serious crimes ones that you you can essentially get a lot of time in prison for and in fact it was amended to have even a higher threshold there was some feeling though but it wasn't just about murder and bodily harm but also some financial and corruption crime so coming in and that worried NGOs that worried business community and you know you can't get into turning hook on without the business community and there was a feeling that Hong Kong's special financial status yeah may have been under threat alright let me go to Andrew Liang he is in Hong Kong Andrew Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam she has now declared this bill dead let's listen to what she had to say there are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in a Legislative Council so I reiterate here there is no such plan the bill is dead Shandra the protesters are not happy with that they want more they want that bill to be formally withdrawn but will this move by Carrie Lam be enough to scale back or perhaps end these protests well this is really that the bill is really the last straw on the camel's back because it's not just about the build itself you can see the groundswell of dissatisfaction of this trust of concern and xiety that there over the years that the one country – system has been Tooting towards the one country rather than little systems or even sacrificing some of the values of the two systems I mean you I mean there are examples of perceive abduction of the Box sellers in Hong Kong and its qualification of democratic legislators and even the collocation arrangement whereby mainland law enforcement officers were allowed to operate in Hong Kong on litsa call joint checkpoint and all this seems to be a slide towards the one country rather than safeguarding the values of the two systems and then together with a lot of dissatisfaction amongst young people the lack of opportunities upward mobility the difficulties of starting their own families of not being able to fought and even a very tiny flat the always total despair you know there is all ignited by this single bill so I think whatever she says is not likely to be accepted but let's be fair she already said that the bill is dead and then the there protesters protesters still demand withdrawal I mean are you going to how you're going to draw something which is already dead but then also that there is no political mileage for even the poor governments let's elitist supported because they have lost a lot of their voters their constituencies most of the constituency subject to this bill and then the government legislators putting all their their chips on this bill and they're lost heavily so there is no no hope that they would even continue to support the government so the bill is is actually off the agenda and and then of course for the remainder of her term yeah however short she is going to concentrate on livelihood issues but then of course we are the the producers are having nothing of it then they still demand the field to be formally withdrawn okay yeah the protesters are asking for other things as well but I want to go to Shindo shoe you know what do you make of those criticisms that the one country two systems plan is not working as it should that this is drifting towards a one country one system plan interesting if you talk to people in the mainland that people would say there's a too much stress about a two system people forget or wholly about one country we belong to one country Hong Kong and the mainland and if you look at the responses or the performance of the central government basically he said they said a couple of times you know they are with the Hong Kong chief executive they are supporting the government but nothing beyond that it only have yes they have a quarrel disputes with the British government because when it comes to foreign affairs and the defence of the territory that's within the jurisdiction of the central government otherwise it's all hong kong issues hong kong government is running hong kong with a complete autonomy and remember this contractor can traverse a this the the extradition bill was initiated by the hong kong government and yes a purge out by the government to communicate with the public and also you would wonder whether there's a over response to the extradition bill because it's really touching a point 37 internationally recognized the serious crimes for those concerns for example it persecution religious freedom or press freedom East as well like at least eight instances they were exceptions basically you know anybody there's a concern about this there's no extradition and also it will receive approval of Hong Kong chief executive as well as the court of Hong Kong so there's a lot of safeguards obviously in nineteen nineteen ninety nine percent of those protesters you know the bill have nothing to do with them but somehow you know this is a lightning rod for them as a previous speaker point out there's some frustration for example you know lack of jobs lack of opportunities lack of innovation in Hong Kong there's a bigger problem potentially I think that's that's really more important probably than the politics here all right let me bring in Fred tag Fred some see these protests as a rebuke of the relationship between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong the protesters have asked been asking for political reforms for instance they've also been asking for investigations into alleged police abuse they've also been asking for Carrie Lam to step down to resign from her position what is your assessment of what has been happening in Hong Kong I was in Hong Kong during the first protest and I was recently over there and I can say that the police is really exercised utmost restraint I've talked a lot of police they try not to rest any of the young people because they do not want them to have a police record secondly is that if you can see some of the police are using paintball guns those paintball guns is to pinpoint the people who's been attacking the police with breaks or with umbrellas they're throwing at the police so they're not trying to arrest anyone who is just being protesting I think that you know certainly the chief executive Kyrie Lam have to take this product this this route because you want to protect Hong Kong as a whole in terms of its prosperity and its economy nobody want to go to a city that's protesting all the time and which including Paris and so for Hong Kong's future and for Hong Kong's economy and its prosperity Carol and poppy while this route and then this bill I think the process of this bill is that but the extradition law is very much needed for all countries and the extradition law is actually there to protect the suspect and not to hurt the suspect there's other ways in terms of without the extradition law there will be renditions or deportations so there's a many different way of dealing with this matter but the extradition law is probably the best way to deal with it in a legal matter so Nathan here's an interesting point if there is no extradition treaty between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong can criminal fonder a safe haven I mean this is one of the arguments that Carrie Lam and the executive pointed out yeah that you know Hong Kong's reputation could suffer it could become as you said a haven for criminals and also corruption as well from the mainland for example there is no proof of that but that was one of the main arguments and there has been you know in the past the freewheeling sort of capital as a model in Hong Kong my father used to do a lot of business in there that is different from Chinese mainland and also other jurisdictions in Asia and I think a lot of this is is the fact that the protesters young kids who may have economic worries and millionaires and billionaires are on the same side on this suggests that they want to keep that status as well you know of course China resumed sovereignty over the former British colony Hong Kong 22 years ago and then we had the introduction of the formula which is one country two systems' to what extent do these protests have to do with the fact that Hong Kong residents may feel that some of the rights that they were granted doing that handover process during those negotiations they may be losing that now what I can tell you I covered the you know negotiations in the UK of the handover I have some personal connection to some Hong Kong residents and it was really brutal the negotiations you know just as the UK and China sort of agreed on a framework there was a new government Chris Patten for example and remember there was this huge argument back in the UK about granting Hong Kong residents citizenship rights in the UK passports that was kind of sad on in fact very few Hong Kong has actually got that right a lot of people in a Canada or got Canadians as Jim New Zealand Australia and in a way there was a sort of payoff a bargain where Chris Patten had the governor and he had some opposition in the UK and and in Hong Kong trying to extend the franchise in order to sort of mitigate some of these criticism yes and you know when negotiations would have fell down essentially China established a separate government in waiting if you like just across the border in Shenzhen because they didn't agree to it so the mess was set you know and I think with we're still living with the consequences of this you know I'd love to hear from my Chinese callers about whether agree both sitting in London at a time you could really feel those tensions and I said I think they're still there today andrew leung some of the protesters as we reported at the beginning of our show actually were involved in violence they attacked the Legislative Council building at the beginning of July this is how the Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam responded to that let's listen to this the sudden scene that we have seen which really sevens a lot of people and shops a lot of people is the extreme use of violence and vandalism by protesters who stormed into the Legislative i'mso building over a period of time so this is something that we should seriously calm them because nothing is more important than the rule of law in Hong Kong so Andrew how much of a concern is that in Hong Kong this concern of a law and order and and how is this attack this violence how is it being viewed in the city well I think that most people in Hong Kong don't want this kind of violence and of course the business sector don't want it especially and then even ordinary citizens and as they go about their businesses are unlikely to do to view that with with any kind of connivance but on the other hand the political parties the opposition party was display mning all this violence on the government on on Carrie Lam and said well since you do not seem to be listening to people's wants and then there's no other way that they can express that that their their views and here is the result I mean even there that in in the Hong Kong one to the Hong Kong papers there was a writer even suggesting that the protesters should deserve a Nobel Peace Prize regardless of this violence I mean this is really ridiculous because the world role of course is Hong Kong's an anchor of stability and prosperity and to condone this kind of violence is really undermines Hong Kong's very foundation okay but having said that though that there's a deep-seated kind of dissatisfaction amongst the young people and that got to be traced back to these so-called umbrella movement a couple of years ago right do you join the umbrella movement they were demanding for universal suffrage there was a universal suffrage package allowable under Hong Kong's Constitution the basic law yeah but then the package wasn't regarded as liberal enough and I think that they're at the heart of it all is that the people demand that they should have a more freedom a more liberal away to elect the chief executive which they prefer rather than a candidates handpicked by Beijing but herein lies the contradictions of the one country two systems because these are say say cars for for the one country okay Fred tang you know talking about dissatisfaction in Hong Kong and we've just heard from Andrew there are a lot of grievances there but some of the protesters claim that they're not being listened to this is what one of the protesters had to say let's listen to him I understand people in Hong Kong or around the world might not 100% agree or disagree on all of the behavior of protester but when more than 25% of the population those more than 2 million people join the rally already but all the requests have been ignored so is there any way out so Carrie Lam has promised that the government will change its approach to ensure that more voices are heard do you think that's going to work I think Hong Kong inner city happy actually do more consultation with its citizens wherever they propose any laws or changes then even in the modern United States but if people want to be heard I think that besides being protesting they should join the government to work in the government run for office there are many many routes to do such things but creating violence and taking over a legislative whore universally it's not nobody can agree to that I don't think the United States will allow people to take over the Congress and to vandalize it that way either so I think that those actions are totally wrong about Hong Kong's future need to be decided by the Hong Kong people which including certainly the protester but as well as the government leaders business leaders the parents the teachers and including the people who are silent right now maintaining silent is not a good way everybody need to speak up and talk about a future of Hong Kong that they want to see Shindo Xu there has been strong criticism from China over remarks that have been made by the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt he's been talking about support for Hong Kong and its freedoms the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom had something to say about that let's listen to what he had to say we all remember what a hunk Hong was 22 years ago under British rule there's no freedom democracy whatever we all know their cabin they're all governors were appointed by the British government people have no right to elect its officials no right to demonstrate certainly they do not even have a right to have independent judicial power so that was the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom there but Shindo Shindo xu what is your view of Jeremy Hunt the foreign secretary weighing in on what China believes it's is a domestic issue well that's about the 1984 the joint declaration between the Chinese side in the heart and the British side in the time of before leading up to the 1997 handover so basically it says you know during the time between 1984 to 1997 so the time leading up to the ceremony so the Hong Kong Affairs will be administered by the British side and after that China will resume its sovereignty of Hong Kong and Hong Kong special mineral region will be established and there will be in charge of the Hong Kong affairs and also China you know it's committed to the one country two systems' the formula that will remain unchanged for 50 years basically that's all the content and the so it's like a declaration when the handover is finished so from the Chinese point of view yeah that's a historical important a piece of documents but that's the past and but for for the British side and you know is especially to remain haunt when he made the remarks about the basically siding with the protesters even when they stormed the legislature that is something very hard for the Chinese started to understand and to accept basically is like a you are you are stirring a more protest and more trouble for Hong Kong so that's you know one of the key points the two sides have a problem with you right Nathan does the Chinese ambassador have a point because you know countries like the United Kingdom and the United States for that matter are constantly complaining about interference meddling Internal Affairs I mean you know as a Brit it's just kind of ridiculous I mean look I may get in trouble for saying this but the British media coverage of what's been going on in Hong Kong has been incredibly intense it's been leading their bulletins for a huge amount I'm a huge interest in the protesters whether it's whether it turns to violence or not and you can understand that it's a sort of post-colonial mindset there is this feeling in the UK that Hong Kong would be better if it stayed with the British and you can feel that for the media you can feel that through the political classes let's let's just set the record straight here how did Hong Kong fall into the hands the British didn't know it was the opium wars basically prying open the Ching dynasty to sell a drug and get people addicted which is what and the defeat of the Ching dynasty which led to the the Hong Kong lease and you know you can't separate if the UK is going to sort of insert itself into into the affairs of Hong Kong now you can't separate the history it's quite incredible to me that you have this sort of Imperial hangover and this is a you know from a Brit who grew up during the handover having said that there are economic ties there are strong links and the UK feels you know and also the UK is going through an incredible process right now works withdrawing from the European Union is having problems with the Trump administration here in Washington and wants to be a global power again so you know it does think about Hong Kong but it's really gonna have to make a choice I think if he continues to speak up and if Jeremy um becomes Prime Minister which is terribly unlikely but also Boris Johnson does not have different views on this is that really are they gonna annoy Beijing by inserting themselves into Hong Kong affairs when they're looking for trading relationships be on the EU and using Beijing as a counterweight to get a better deal with Washington I mean you know how very short-sighted that's just my view I'm gonna get in trouble I know all right Andrew getting back to what's going on in Hong Kong what kind of pressure is Carrie Lam under right now to get this situation under control well she's under tremendous pressure I mean immediately after this saga I mean she was in hiding almost form was a week and then she only recently came out to explain how to formally respond to that the SoCo fired the bonds of the protesters including saying that the pier is dead and and then also offering to meet the students in an open forum but I think there are speculation that she may already you know tendering her resignation or something like that but I myself don't believe in that because a is not for her to say whether she would continue with with a job right it's s Beijing's authority but also even look around there are who is in a better position to hold the job more effectively than her in these circumstances right so I think that the likelihood is that that she would be allowed time you have to clean up this mess this political mess and to concentrate on livelihood issues at least for the remainder of her term as to whether or not there's going to be a second term while Costas is say it would point okay and there is three three three more years to go all right Fred tang there are local elections coming up in Hong Kong later this year could they be another flashpoint for these protests protests usually the the this type of protest the kind of social unrest will create a negative effect for the for the opposition which is the pandan Tsai whenever they have such movements a lot of the people are turned off by it rather than the people come on the streets and demonstrate there are a lot more people who are staying at home and does not agree with their actions so usually that's you know usually there would be a negative effect and I do I want in Hong Kong on the Tuesday night at the dinner will Carrie Lam she spoke very eloquently she articulated the issues I think that she is a very good professional government worker and she's trying to look at the Hong Kong's overall future in my rather than taking responsibility or taking credit whether this bill pass or not I think that this bill is BS being on halt while the the the process is dead but they could be added a new process in the future to restart this again alright shouldn't I sure what is your view on that what are these protests mean for the future of Hong Kong could we see more protests or is it gonna take some kind of political reform to resolve it I think it could be a also opportunity of course she's and the tremendous pressure first of all to resolve this crisis which is sort of going on to add it to that point out to say you know some of the protesters at least you know the RT mounting basically you know withdraw the bill and punish those the police who use forces and then amnesty for those who broke the law the protesters right they are like a spoiler decades you know like you know if you don't agree with me don't give me the candy I will cry and cry this is going extreme I think the government should be doing the the right thing even under pressure okay I should have raised a good point you know and talked to a lot of my colleagues in in Beijing or Chengdu yeah they see why they acting like there's this oil week and everything and I just want to add one final point about Washington Donald Trump u.s. president Ahn Trump has been very silent about Hong Kong but behind the scenes actually that's not been the case with his administration u.s. echo state Mike Pompeo national security adviser John Bolton exactly and others have really sort of been blowing on the embers of the flames here including meeting with democracy activist people who would not normally get access to the administration at this time and I think that's something to watch in the coming days and weeks okay and that's where we have to leave it thanks to all of you for being with us we are going to happen Lee there thanks for joining us you

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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