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HK leader to push ahead with extradition bill despite protests

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HONG KONG — Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Monday that she has no plans to withdraw a controversial plan to allow extradition to China, despite mass protests against it.

According to The New York Times, the Hong Kong government has proposed an extradition bill that will allow case-based transfers of suspected criminals to territories it does not have agreements with, including Taiwan, Macau, and China.

The administration wants to pass the bill before July, to allow for the extradition of a Hong Kong man wanted for murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan.

The Guardian reports that opponents of the bill say it is being pushed by the Chinese government, setting off fears that Beijing will be able to use it to extradite political activists, dissidents, and other opponents in the city.

On Sunday, over a million people marched the streets of Hong Kong to oppose the extradition plan. The mostly peaceful protest turned violent after midnight, after police with batons and pepper spray clashed with demonstrators attempting to occupy areas around the Legislative Council complex.

Despite the opposition, the government has no plans to change the bill's wording or withdraw it from legislation.

Lam has reasoned that it is necessary to prevent Hong Kong from turning into a fugitive haven, and claims there are human rights safeguards in the bill that meet international standards, and are in place to protect the city's unique freedoms.

According to the Guardian, China's Foreign Affairs Ministry said it supports Hong Kong in passing the bill. In a Monday editorial, state-owned China Daily defended the extradition plan and blamed "foreign forces" for creating chaos in Hong Kong.

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