MADRID, Sep. 4 (EUROPE PRESS) –
Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have celebrated the decision of the head of the Hong Kong Government to definitively withdraw the extradition law to mainland China, although they have considered that it is only a small concession, for what they have urged Carrie Lam to address the other demands of the protesters, starting with that of investigating police violence.
“Although we welcome the formal withdrawal, finally, of this dangerous bill, this announcement does not change the fact that the Hong Kong authorities have decided to suppress protests in a manifestly illegitimate manner that has seriously damaged the confidence of the citizenship and the sense of legitimacy of the government, “said the director of AI for Hong Kong, Man Kei Tam.
Tam has argued that “an exhaustive and independent investigation into the unnecessary and excessive use of force by the Police in protests is now more necessary than ever” and, until then, has reiterated the call “to all governments to suspend transfers to Hong Kong of 'less lethal' material for crowd control. ”
In his opinion, although “today's announcement is a small step in the right direction, it will take much more to show the world that the Hong Kong authorities are really committed to the defense of Human Rights and convey the unequivocal message that citizens can continue to enjoy these rights regardless of their political beliefs. ”
Along the same lines, the director of HRW for China, Sophie Richardson, has stressed that, despite the fact that the definitive withdrawal of the extradition law “was the main demand of Hong Kong protesters, it leaves many other important issues unresolved” about the “erosion” of Human Rights in the former British colony.
Richardson has specifically alluded to the video of a Lam meeting with local businessmen in which he states that he would have resigned long ago if the Chinese Government had allowed it. This “confirms the opinion of many people that the autonomy of Hong Kong is nothing more than rhetoric,” he said.
For Richardson, “there is no doubt that Beijing wants people off the streets in Hong Kong on October 1, when the Chinese Communist Party will celebrate its 70th anniversary” and “the easiest concession to achieve this result” was to end With the extradition law.
The local HRW leader has urged Lam to conduct an independent investigation into police violence, as well as to “move towards universal suffrage.” “The authorities can also withdraw the charges against those who have been arbitrarily detained during the protests,” he said.
He has also appealed to the international community that, in general, “has shown little enthusiasm when it comes to demonstrating its support for Hong Kong protesters.” “They should not just accept the definitive withdrawal of the law, but consider it a push to speak more loudly in the name of the rights of the people of Hong Kong,” he said.
Thousands of people have demonstrated at the financial center, train and bus stations and even at the Hong Kong International Airport against a bill that would allow the territory to send the suspects required by the Beijing authorities to mainland China.
Lam has appeared on Wednesday to announce the cancellation of the bill and offer a dialogue between government and civil society to address the “serious problems” that have surfaced with this wave of protests. However, he has refused to create an independent commission to investigate police violence and to drop charges against detained protesters.
With regard to universal suffrage, one of the main demands, the regional leader has left the door open, as long as it is discussed “within the legal framework and in an atmosphere that leads to trust and mutual understanding, without further polarizing the society”.
The Civil Front of Human Rights (CHRF), which has captained the mobilization against the Government, has replied that the measure is late and has announced that it will continue with the protests until the five lawsuits, including independent investigation, withdrawal of charges and universal suffrage.
Protests against the extradition law have been the biggest challenge for the Chinese Government in Hong Kong since the 2014 Umbrella Revolution, seen by many as the 'Chinese Spring'.