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Withdrawal of Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill GS2 – International Relations

Following widespread protests over the controversial provisions, Hong Kong’s extradition Bill was withdrawn

  • The extradition Bill was essentially intended to hand over suspected criminal offenders to other jurisdictions.

  • The withdrawal of the Bill has raised hopes for a welcome, even if temporary, pause in tensions.

  • The reversal has given Beijing time to deal with the political and economic fallout from the intensifying protests.

  • Notably, China had begun mobilising paramilitary forces in neighbouring Shenzhen city.

  • The decision by Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, has given a boost to the pro-democracy campaign being referred to as the ‘Water-Revolution’.

  • Ms. Lam was uncertain and so delayed a decision for nearly 3 months.

  • Meanwhile, the protesters expanded their charter of demands, in effect to question the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy of Hong Kong.

  • They have called for a judicial investigation into the government’s handling of the crisis and alleged police violence.

  • The demand is bound to grow louder after the roll-back of the Bill.

  • But the most potent of the demands is the right to universal suffrage.

  • The demand was originally championed under Hong Kong’s 2014 umbrella movement but effectively made ineffective by the government.

  • The demand will certainly prove pivotal to the current campaign.

     Outcome 

  • China’s President Xi Jinping would be aware of the implications of major loosening of policy as the 2047 expiry of Hong Kong’s special status approaches.

  • The risks involved are more likely to reflect in Taiwan too, whose government is particular of independence from China.

  • [Taiwan is a sovereign state but its sovereignty highly contends, and it has a tense relationship with China).

  • The ‘Water-Revolution’ has so far managed to broaden its appeal among millions, transcending social classes and across different generations.

  • As with other recent political uprisings, building a cohesive leadership and strategy might turn out to be its biggest challenge.

  • In a sign of the unstable economic and business environment ahead, Hong Kong’s GDP growth in the previous quarter was the slowest since the financial crisis.

  • Given its position as Asia’s leading financial hub, prolonged uncertainty in Hong Kong can worsen the global implications of the current U.S.-China trade tensions.

  • Mr. Xi has embarked on an aggressive policy aimed at China’s economic, technological and strategic dominance.

  • However, given the immediate challenge posed by the current discontent, an accommodative policy.

 

 

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