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China Blames 'Foreign Forces' for Massive HK Protest

Leader says she won't scrap extradition bill
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2019 6:31 AM CDT
Protesters hold placards march in a rally against the proposed amendments to extradition law in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 9, 2019.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
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(Newser) – Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam was unswayed by one of the biggest protests in the territory's history. Lam announced Monday that a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China for the first time will not be scrapped despite widespread opposition, the BBC reports. A crowd estimated by organizers at around a million people—roughly one in every seven Hong Kong residents—joined Sunday's protest, filling streets with a sea of people that stretched for more than a mile. Police put the number at 240,000. Lam insisted Monday that the bill was not "initiated by the central people's government" in Beijing. She said it would not erode the special freedoms Hong Kong has had since it passed from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Reports on the protest were heavily censored in mainland China, where the state-run People's Daily claimed that far more people had signed an online petition supporting the law than had joined the protest, the Hong Kong Free Press reports. Like other mainland outlets, the Daily blamed the protest on "international forces," saying: "Unfortunately, some Hong Kong residents have been hoodwinked by the opposition camp and their foreign allies into supporting the anti-extradition campaign." More protests are expected Wednesday, when the extradition bill will have its second legislative reading, the New York Times reports. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)

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