HK and Taiwan students express concern over China extradition bill

Students talked about their worries at Sunday’s rally in Taipei

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While Hong Kong saw a historic turnout of two million protesters flooding into the streets on Sunday afternoon to signal their disapproval of the extradition bill amendments, many Hong Kong and Taiwan students rallied outside Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan in Taipei to voice their support.

“As a Hong Konger I should protect Hong Kong and tell Taiwanese people that it is necessary to oppose the extradition bill,” said a college student from Hong Kong, surnamed Nip.

The amendments to the extradition bill, proposed by the Hong Kong government in February, will allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to China for trial.

Even so, Nip, like many other Hong Kongers, has no faith in China’s legal and judicial system. People tried in China cannot enjoy the protection of human rights and rule of law, he said.

Furthermore, critics worry the bill could be used against political dissidents, or those whom Beijing does not agree with.

Sunday’s rally in Taipei came the day after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that extradition legislation would be delayed indefinitely. However, the people of Hong Kong appeared not to be appeased by Lam’s concession.

They were angered that Lam continued to defend the extradition bill and justify the riot police’s violence against protesters and journalists during the demonstrations on June 12.

Demonstrators in Hong Kong and Taipei on Sunday, therefore, not only demanded the withdrawal of the extradition bill, they also called on Lam to step down.

“Lam is no longer fit to be a chief executive,” said Nip. Lam described her government’s handling of the protests as a “mother” refusing to spoil her children, but a mother should never treat her children with violence, he added.

Having lived in Taiwan for nearly one year, Nip was dismayed to learn that some of the island’s China-friendly politicians did not speak out about the protests in Hong Kong – such as Kuomintang (KMT) Kaohsiung Mayor and presidential hopeful Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).

“It’s outrageous” that he said he had “no idea” and “no clue” about what happened in Hong Kong when the news was everywhere, said Nip. Han’s lack of concern on June 9 as one million Hong Kongers took to the streets to protest against the extradition bill drew widespread criticism.

The next day, Han said via a statement he looked forward to seeing the Hong Kong government make a decision that would address the concerns of its people.

Nip’s anger was shared by a Taiwan high school student, surnamed Mu, who traveled with two other classmates from Taoyuan City to take part in the rally.

A presidential candidate should not dodge the question, they ought to clearly express their stance over Hong Kong’s extradition bill, said Mu, despite not being old enough to vote.

The extradition bill will also affect the rights of Taiwanese people, who can be extradited to China when visiting Hong Kong, said Mu. The Hong Kong government should properly respond to the opinions of its people, he said.