China blasts EU's remarks on Hong Kong's extradition Bill, protesters vow another rally on Sunday

Protesters react to tear gas during a demonstration against a proposed extradition Bill in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019.
Protesters react to tear gas during a demonstration against a proposed extradition Bill in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING/HONG KONG (AFP) - China on Thursday (June 13) hit out at the European Union for making "irresponsible and erroneous" remarks about Hong Kong's controversial extradition Bill, which sparked violent protests in the semi-autonomous city.

"I have said many times that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No country, organisation or individual has the right to intervene in them," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

“What happened in the Admiralty area was not a peaceful rally, but a riot organised by a group,” said Mr Geng. “We support the Hong Kong government’s dealing of the situation in accordance with the law.”

Hong Kong was facing international pressure on Thursday over the divisive extradition Bill that sparked violent protests on Wednesday. Demonstrators were angry over legislation which they say would leave people vulnerable to China's politicised justice system.

The Hong Kong government has said that the extradition Bill is necessary to fix a loophole that prevents Hong Kong from sending criminal suspects back to jurisdictions they have fled - including to mainland China.

The EU has called for the "fundamental right" of Hong Kongers to assemble and express themselves to be respected, as it became the latest grouping to add its voice to a growing chorus of criticism of the Bill.

The EU "shares many of the concerns raised by citizens of Hong Kong regarding the government's proposed extradition reforms", it said.

The bloc said the proposed law had "potentially far-reaching consequences for Hong Kong and its people, for EU and foreign citizens, as well as for business confidence in Hong Kong".

 
 

On Thursday, protest organisers in Hong Kong announced plans for another mass rally on Sunday.

The Civil Human Rights Front also called for a city-wide strike on Monday to keep pressure on the financial hub’s government to scrap the proposed Bill.

“We urge citizens to join labour strikes, school strikes and business strikes,” said Mr Jimmy Sham, the group’s convenor.