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Hong Kong: Protestors call for city’s leader to step down

Hong Kong’s chief executive apologized to the public on Sunday after a surprisingly large and defiant crowd poured onto the streets and converged on government offices.

Protesters have filled the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday and surrounded the Legislative Council. Organizers said nearly two million people joined the rally.

Demonstrations by an overwhelmingly young crowd on Wednesday were organized largely through social media, word of mouth and secure messaging apps like Telegram.

Two groups, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) and Pan-democracy Camp.

In the center of the protest is the controversial extradition bill. The proposed amendments is touted as an extension of China’s reach into the city and allowing individuals to be arbitrarily sent back to China where they couldn’t be guaranteed a fair trial.

Critics say the bill would undermine Hong Kong’s independent judiciary and rule of law, guaranteed by the “one country, two systems” formula under which Hong Kong returned to China.

The extradition bill was proposed on April 3. The opposers to the bill argue the newly framed extradition plan would dissolve the rights and legal protections, which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

The voice of concern has echoed from many quarters, including business groups, lawyers, judges, and foreign governments against the bill. 

Lam, who took over as Hong Kong’s leader in 2017 with the support of Beijing, had vowed to ensure the bill’s approval and tried to get it passed on an unusually short timetable sparking a wide protest as hundreds of thousands demonstrated against it last week.

From using secure digital messaging apps such as Telegram to buying single ride subway tickets instead of prepaid stored-value cards, the protests offered a glimpse of what it looks like to stage mass civil disobedience in the age of the surveillance state.

The extent of the opposition to the bill is such that even business groups in Hong Kong, who generally take a neutral stance on political issues, have also spoken out against it.

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