What Happened: The Hong Kong government, facing continuing protests over its unpopular extradition bill and reported to be divided over which steps to take next, is considering a prolonged pause to allow additional discussion, the South China Morning Post reported June 14. Separately, U.S. lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation in Congress that calls for reevaluating Hong Kong's special trade status, among other actions.
Why It Matters: The situation in Hong Kong appears to be trending toward delaying the fast-tracked June 20 vote on the extradition bill to give the government more time to consider its options as well as concerns raised by the business and legal communities. Additional amendments to the bill are possible, but they're not likely to appease the protesters, who want the bill withdrawn. Protests are set to escalate if the government sticks with the June 20 vote. The proposed U.S. legislation, meanwhile, is primarily aimed at the Chinese government in Beijing.
Background: Mass protests began on June 9 when the Hong Kong government moved to expedite passage of the extradition bill, which would allow the transfer of suspects to mainland China for prosecution. Another mass protest is planned for June 16.
- What to Watch for as the Hong Kong Protests Unfold (June 12, 2019)
- 1 Country, 2 Systems and 20 Years (June 30, 2017)
- A Predictable Predicament for Hong Kong (March 24, 2017)