One of the demands of the protesters in Hongkong is for ex-con chief, Carrie Lam, to withdraw the extradition law that brought the people to the streets in the first place. “So far, Lam has said that the bill is dead, but the protests are not pleased with the usage of a non-legal term that does not carry any judicial weight,” Frank Jüris, junior fellow of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute of ICDS commented on Vikerraadio (Estonian Public Broadcasting) on 15 August.
Jüris added that besides the withdrawal of the extradition bill the protesters are demanding that an impartial commission is created to investigate the cases of police violence. “They demand that government refrains from calling the protests riots. Protesters demand that people being held in captivity are released and all accusations against them are dropped,” he said.
If the 2014 protests were best described as peaceful and rational, then in recent days the more radical protesters have not been able to refrain from using violence. “There is no justification to violence, but there is justification on holding China responsible for the Sino-British Joint Declaration it singed in 1984,” Jüris noted. According to the declaration Hongkong practises autonomy in domestic policy and maintains its political system with separation of powers.
“In long term I do not see an end to the protests, because opposition is trying to make these promises reality, while China wants to supress the freedoms that Hongkong people currently enjoy. Hopefully China does not use force to supress the ongoing protests and both sides are able to find a compromise that they can at least agree on at the moment,” Jüris commented.
Listen to the whole interview in Estonian on Vikerraadio (from 00:06:35).