More than 100 Hong Kong businesses have vowed to shut for a day as anger builds over the government’s seemingly determined push to legalize extraditions to China, with protest organizers on Tuesday announcing plans for fresh protests and strikes.
Hong Kong people have responded to calls to close their shops, take a day off or skip classes on Wednesday to show their anger as the government plans to continue the second reading of the controversial extradition bill amendment, despite more than one million people taking to the streets to voice their opposition to it.
At least 130 small-and-medium-sized companies – the list is growing and included listed companies, accounting companies, law firms, online logistics platforms, bakeries, food stalls and many others – said they will close their businesses on Wednesday and let their staff join the protests outside the Legislative Council in Admiralty, the Apple Daily reported.
Most Kwai Chung Limited, the operator of the online satirical media platform TVMost and magazine 100Most, was the first locally-listed company to join the call, while celebrity Chapman To said he would not object to any request for a day off by staff at his online media platform.
Lai, an optical shop owner in Mong Kok, said closing his business for the day would result in him losing about HK$6,000 (US$765) to HK$10,000 in revenue, but how the government responded to the more than 1.03 million people who rallied on the streets on Sunday made him angry.
“What is the meaning of earning money if our Hong Kong is no longer the one that we used to know?” said Alan, the owner of a wedding dress shop.
The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions appealed to workers to “use your own method” to request a day off on Wednesday to join the protest organized by the Civil Human Rights Front.
Meanwhile, student unions at universities were discussing a class boycott. An online parents group had already sent out an appeal on Facebook asking parents to let their children skip class and request a day off from school.
On Wednesday, lawmakers start vetting the contentious extradition bill at the full council.
Andrew Leung, the president of the Legislative Council, said he had approved 153 bill amendments out of 258 raised by lawmakers to be debated in the main chamber on Wednesday. He said that as the bill had not been discussed by a bill committee, he approved those amendments that did not violate the house rules, nowTV.com reported.
Former lawmaker Nathan Law said it was expected to take at least three weeks to debate the 153 amendments of the bill, adding that Hong Kong people should be prepared for a long-term battle over the issue, online news website thestandnews.com reported.
Michael Tien Puk-sun, another pro-government lawmaker and deputy to the National People’s Congress, revealed that he had talked to a “middleman” with the Beijing government about suggesting a postponement of the amendment to next legislative session.
Tien said that would allow more time for the government to explain the bill to Hong Kong people to ease their worries.
Meanwhile, a New Zealand court has handed down its decision on extradition to China in a verdict bound to ruffle feathers in Beijing, according to a report by AFP.
A Wellington court stopped a murder suspect being extradited to China Tuesday, saying it would not send a suspect to a country where torture was “widespread” and “systemic.”
The Court of Appeal in New Zealand overturned a ministerial decision to extradite Kyung Kim to China, saying there was a risk he would be tortured, which breached New Zealand’s international obligations.
The 99-page judgment included a damning assessment of Beijing’s justice system, something that will come as no surprise to Hong Kong residents as they prepare for Wednesday’s protest.