Hong Kong - Hong Kong's leader signaled Monday that her government will push ahead with controversial amendments to extradition laws despite a massive protest against them that underscored fears about mainland China's broadening footprint in the semi-autonomous territory.
In what was likely Hong Kong's largest protest in more than a decade, hundreds of thousands of people shut down the heart of the skyscraper-studded city on Sunday, three days before the Legislative Council is slated to take up the bill.
The demonstrations refocused attention on the former British colony, whose residents have long bristled at what many see as efforts by Beijing to tighten control, and dominated newspaper front pages in a city that allows far more freedom of expression than other parts of China.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters the legislation is important and will help Hong Kong uphold justice and fulfill its international obligations. Safeguards added in May will ensure that the legislation protects human rights, she said.
Hong Kong was guaranteed the right to retain its own social, legal and political systems for 50 years under an agreement reached before its 1997 return to China from British rule. But China's ruling Communist Party has been seen as increasingly reneging on that agreement by pushing through unpopular legal changes.