Hong Kong, May 11 (IANS) Several lawmakers were injured and one was taken to hospital as legislators clashed in Hong Kong Parliament on Saturday over planned changes to the law allowing suspects to be sent to the mainland for trial, according to a BBC report.
Members of Parliament swore and jumped over tables to take control of microphones. Pro-democracy legislator Gary Fan collapsed and was carried out on a stretcher, while one pro-Beijing legislator was later seen with his arm in a sling.
One pro-Beijing lawmaker called it “a sad day for Hong Kong”.
Critics believe the proposed change in the extradition law would erode Hong Kong’s freedom. But authorities say they need to make the change to extradite a murder suspect to Taiwan.
Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam earlier in 2019 announced plans to make changes to the law to extradite suspects to Taiwan, Macau or China, which triggered huge criticism.
Anti-change members marched on the streets in April in the biggest rally since 2014’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement demonstrations.
Pro-democracy lawmaker James To originally led the session on the controversial extradition bill, but he was replaced as the chairman earlier this week by supporters of the new law.
Even the conservative business community has objected to the change. The International Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said the bill had “gross inadequacies”, which could mean people risk “losing freedom, property and even their life”.
Under a policy known as “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong has a separate legal system to China. Beijing regained control over the former British colony in 1997 on the condition that it would allow the territory “a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs” for 50 years.
Chris Patten, last British Governor of Hong Kong, in April had said the proposal was “an assault on Hong Kong’s values, stability and security”.