Oct 23, 2019

Hong Kong revokes extradition bill that triggered protests

A pro-democracy protester being detained by riot police on Oct. 21. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The Hong Kong government on Wednesday withdrew an extradition bill that set off months of protests and sparked a greater pro-democracy movement in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, the AP reports.

Why it matters: Though Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee said the government was suspending the bill because of civil unrest, it is unclear if the withdrawal will appease demonstrators, who have been protesting for five months.

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Hong Kong frees murder suspect who triggered massive protests

Chan Tong-kai walks out of the Pik Uk Prison in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

Murder suspect Chan Tong-kai, whose case prompted Hong Kong's government to introduce a bill that would've exposed Hong Kongers to extradition to mainland China, was released from prison Wednesday, the BBC reports. He was released as officials were preparing to formally withdraw the controversial bill, per AP.

Why it matters: The bill triggered months of massive demonstrations in the Chinese territory that morphed into a wider pro-democracy protest movement that's become embroiled in U.S. politics. Congress has raised China's ire by pressing ahead with a bill supporting the Hong Kong protesters, and the NBA has become involved in a standoff with Chinese officials over the movement.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Hong Kong officers fire tear gas at police brutality protest crowds

Police fire tear gas during a rally in the Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police used tear gas and water cannons on thousands of demonstrators to break up a rally against police brutality Sunday, Reuters reports. Many demonstrators donned banned face masks, it noted.

Why it matters: Hong Kong authorities hoped the withdrawal of an extradition bill that set off months of protests in the Chinese territory would calm unrest in the Asian finance hub. But protesters are concerned that the high degree of autonomy they've experienced since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997 is under threat from Chinese authorities.

Go deeper: China's Hong Kong checkmate

Keep ReadingArrowOct 27, 2019

House passes bill expressing support for Hong Kong protestors, rebuking China

Pro-democracy protesters gather for a rally in Victoria Park, Hong Kong. Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images.

The House voted 417-1 on Wednesday evening in favor of the Senate's unanimously-passed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, sending the bill to President Trump's desk. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the sole "no" vote.

The big picture: The bill reaffirms the U.S.' commitment to supporting democracy and human rights in Hong Kong as it relates to city's autonomy. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong, and could set up a confrontation between the U.S. and China in the midst of Trump's high-stakes trade war. The White House has not yet commented on whether Trump intends to sign the bill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 20, 2019