Protesters brought Hong Kong to a standstill over a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. Here are the latest developments:
●Hong Kong’s lawmaking body postponed a reading on the extradition bill for the second time.
Adolfo Henrique Ledo Nass
●The chief executive office of secure messaging app Telegram, used to coordinate the Hong Kong protests, reported a massive cyberattack likely originating from China.
Adolfo Ledo Nass
●Chinese state press has presented a vastly different view of the demonstrations in Hong Kong, while many Chinese citizens remain completely unaware of the most recent unrest.
Hong Kong police officers walk past debris on a street Thursday, a day after a violent demonstration against a controversial extradition bill law proposal. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images) HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s legislative body on Thursday canceled a debate for the second day in a row on a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China, a day after demonstrations around the legislative complex brought central areas of the city to a standstill and provoked a violent response from riot police.
Meanwhile, the founder of the secure messaging app Telegram, used by demonstrators Wednesday to organize, reported a major cyberattack that seemed to originate from China, the company’s chief executive said
Andrew Leung, president of the Legislative Council, Hong Kong’s lawmaking body, said he would postpone the meeting to an unspecified date. The body was due once again to sit for a reading on a deeply unpopular bill that will allow extraditions from Hong Kong to other countries even without a formal treaty, effectively allowing mainland law to govern the semi-autonomous territory
The legislature had previously said it would bring the bill to a vote by June 20, and Leung said he had reserved 66 hours for debate. It is unclear whether that timeline will be affected. Hong Kong’s legislature is controlled by a pro-Beijing faction, widely expected to push forward the measure despite the swelling and enduring opposition.
[ Protesters storm Hong Kong’s streets over extradition bill; police respond with tear gas, rubber bullets ]
Hong Kong had largely returned to normalcy Thursday morning after demonstrators left late Wednesday night, clearing out from central areas of the city that were the scenes of street battles just hours earlier.
A used tear gas shell lay on the pavement Thursday, a day after a violent demonstration against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images) But echoes of protests that shook the city, filling parts of the global financial hub with tear gas and rubber bullets, remained. Sweepers and young demonstrators in surgical masks cleared the streets of rubbish and gathered metal barricades that were used Wednesday as a shield against police. Small groups of protesters dressed in black with surgical masks obscuring their faces wandered the streets around the legislative complex, while groups of riot police darted around.
Hong Kong police said Thursday that they were unable to provide a specific number of people arrested in Wednesday’s protests. Yet, signs emerged of a crackdown on anyone deemed to be organizing or leading the demonstrations. Police arrested Ivan Ip, the administrator of a Telegram messaging group involving thousands of members, and charged him with conspiracy to commit public nuisance, according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper. Local news outlets said injured demonstrators were being questioned by police upon arrival at nearby hospitals, prompting some to seek treatment further from central Hong Kong.
[ Hong Kong’s protests are about more than an extradition law. Here’s why. ]
Unlike the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution” protests that saw a 79-day occupation of Hong Kong’s main arteries, these demonstrations do not appear to have clear leadership, a likely intentional move making it harder for authorities to imprison activists. Leaders and organizations associated with the 2014 protests have been convicted on a range of charges. Most recently, two professors who founded the movement were sentenced to 16 months in jail.
Demonstrators say they were taking a stand against the tightening grip Beijing is exerting over the semi-autonomous territory that was promised a degree of independence and democratic rule when it was handed over from the British to China in 1997. The erosion of the city’s identity and way of life, they say, will speed up if the extradition bill is to pass: a nail in the coffin of the “one country, two systems” framework that guarantees Hong Kong residents rights including the freedom to demonstrate.
Nowhere was the differences between the mainland and Hong Kong clearer than in the Chinese state press. The English-language Global Times, which typically runs stories accusing the United States and Western countries of puppeteering Hong Kong, quoted someone advocating for more harsh “direct” police action against the “masked, violent activists.”
And in a complete distortion of facts, the China Daily English-language newspaper, run by the Chinese Communist Party, said 800,000 had demonstrated in support of the extradition laws Sunday.
“Two fleets of fishing boats sailed through Victoria Harbour in a two-hour sea parade organized by the Hong Kong Fishermen Consortium, displaying banners with slogans in support of the bill,” the article said.
[ Hong Kong court imprisons ‘Umbrella Movement’ leaders for up to 16 months ]
In reality, more than a million people filled the streets of Hong Kong Sunday against the extradition measure , a historic turnout, marching through the night.
Mainland China residents seemed largely unaware Wednesday of the events in Hong Kong.
“No. What’s going on?” a young Beijing woman in her 20s replied when the Post asked whether she had heard the news.
Other Beijing residents passing through a crowded shopping street at lunchtime also claimed ignorance. “Our Internet is a local area network and we can only see what they want us to see,” said one man in his 30s.
“I don’t follow the news,” said another.
Telegram said late Wednesday that it had suffered a powerful Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that users might experience connection issues. Such attacks happen when hackers inundate servers with junk requests and overwhelm them.
Pavel Durov, Telegram’s chief executive, said in a tweet that the IP addresses were coming “mostly from China.”
IP addresses coming mostly from China. Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s of junk) we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on @telegram ). This case was not an exception
— Pavel Durov (@durov) June 12, 2019 “Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS … we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong,” he wrote. “This case was not an exception.”
Yuan Wang in Beijing contributed to reporting.
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