A lawyer wearing a face mask watches as the rest of the march passes. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP
We ask for justice, we ask for consistency, we ask for proper record keeping. Nothing more, nothing less.
Yam said those trying to get information from the DOJ were being told verbally, and questioned why they were not being provided with documentation. If we said that I think wed be in trouble, dont you think?
The DOJ issued a statement denying the accusations, saying prosecutors were discharging their duties fairly and without prejudice or favour.
Hong Kong is in its ninth week of consecutive mass protests, with police stating on Tuesday that they fired 800 grenades of teargas the previous day as they tried to disperse demonstrations in at least seven districts.
Hong Kongs democratic struggles since 1997
1 July 1997:HongKong, previously a British colony, is returned to China under the framework of one country, two systems. The Basic Law constitution guarantees to protect, for the next 50 years, the democratic institutions that makeHongKongdistinct from Communist-ruled mainland China.
2003:HongKongs leaders introduce legislation that would forbid acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government. The bill resembles laws used to charge dissidents on the mainland. An estimated half a million people turn out to protest against the bill. As a result of the backlash, further action on the proposal is halted.
2007:The Basic Law stated that the ultimate aim was forHongKongs voters to achieve a complete democracy, but China decides in 2007 that universal suffrage in elections for the chief executive cannot be implemented until 2017. Some lawmakers are chosen by business and trade groups, while others are elected by vote. In a bid to accelerate a decision on universal suffrage, five lawmakers resign. But this act is followed by the adoption of the Beijing-backed electoral changes, which expand the chief executives selection committee and add more seats for lawmakers elected by direct vote. The legislation divides HongKong’s pro-democracy camp, as some support the reforms while others say they will only delay full democracy while reinforcing a structure that favors Beijing.
2014:The Chinese government introduces a bill allowing HongKongresidents to vote for their leader in 2017, but with one major caveat: the candidates must be approved by Beijing. Pro-democracy lawmakers are incensed by the bill, which they call an example of fake universal suffrage and fake democracy. The move triggers a massive protest as crowds occupy some ofHongKongs most crowded districts for 70 days. In June 2015,HongKonglegislators formally reject the bill, and electoral reform stalls. The current chief executive, Carrie Lam, widely seen as the Chinese Communist partys favoured candidate, is hand-picked in 2017 by a 1,200-person committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites.
2019:Lam pushes amendments to extradition laws that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face charges. The proposed legislation triggers a huge protest, with organisers putting the turnout at 1 million, and a standoff that forces the legislature to postpone debate on the bills.
Photograph: Dale de la Rey/AFP
The protests began in opposition to a now-suspended extradition law, which would have allowed suspects to be tried in mainland Chinese courts. They have now broadened, turning into a backlash against the government, fuelled by many residents fears of eroding freedoms under the tightening control of Chinas Communist party.
Zhang Xiaoming, one of the most senior Chinese officials overseeing Hong Kong affairs, spoke about the issue at a meeting set up in Shenzhen to discuss the crisis: The central government is highly concerned about Hong Kongs situation, and trying to study, make decisions and arrangements from a strategic and across-the-board level,
Zhang said. Hong Kong is facing the most serious situation since its return to China.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau affairs office of the Chinese government, said: Dont misjudge the situation or take restraint as a sign of weakness dont underestimate the firm resolve and tremendous power by the central government and people across China to maintain prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.
Australia on Wednesday joined Ireland, the UK, and Japan in issuing Hong Kong travel warnings. More than 5 million people visited Hong Kong in June this year, of which roughly 80% were from mainland China. Still, there are varying reports about whether tourism has been affected by the protests.
Police said they arrested 148 people in connection with Mondays protests, and another nine on Tuesday night. A total of 589 people have been arrested in connection to the protests in the past two months.
Hong Kongs legal system, which was inherited from the British, and the prospect of being extradited to face authoritarian justice in China, was at the heart of the protests when they first broke out earlier this year.
Under the Sino-British joint declaration, Hong Kong should maintain a high degree of autonomy through an independent judiciary, a free press and an open market economy, a framework known as one country, two systems.
But, over the years, Chinese influence over Hong Kong has grown, with its government and legislature tilted in favour of Beijing. Education, publishing and the media have all come under pressure.